Back in 2000 an alarming number of women were going missing from the Downtown East Side of my city. Nothing much was being done to locate them in spite of requests by anxious relatives and friends. By 2001 there were a total of 60 women on the list. All of them were sex-trade workers with addiction problems. All of them had left behind families, children and friends who worried over their fate. It wasn't until 2002 that an investigation began at a pig farm on the outskirts of town where two brothers were known to have a place called "Piggy Palace" where they often entertained the likes of Hells Angels and other folk, including a lot of women who came from the Downtown area. Finally, armed with a search warrent, and looking for fire arms, the police descended on the farm. Much to their horror, they found more than firearms. They found the remains of a number of women. And so the five year long investigation began.
When I first began working in a newspaper editorial office after highschool, I wanted to be a crime reporter and investigative journalist. Instead I ended up in the news library in charge of the crime and bio files. Now I'm a travel journalist and historical fiction writer, but my interest in the judicial system and the criminal mind still draws me to cases like this, gruesome as they are, so horrifying you can't imagine how a human being could behave in such a dispicable way.
I started making notes about this case on my other on-line journal back in 2002 and decided to post them here along with updates as the trial has now began for the man who calls hims "The Pig Man", Robert "Willie" Pickton. He is charged with 26 counts of murder, six of which are being tried now and the rest later.
FRIDAY MIDNIGHT, Oct 4/02
It seems the brothers who owned the Pig Farm have been selling topsoil.
Of course the farm is now under a massive investigation, every inch of soil there being inspected for possible bone fragments of the missing women.
Now it is reported that soil from this very killing fields has been sold around the Lower Mainland to unsuspecting people for use in landscaping.
Tonight on the news it was reported that the police are concentrating an investigation at a local Indian Reserve where apparantly a load of this soil had been delivered. How ironic that a large number of the missing women happened to be aboriginal women.
The Chief of that particular reserve now has to make a decision to have the areas dug up and searched by one of the investigative teams. This, of course, may be a long procedure and will involve having a large area of ground being dug up. Quite a dilemma.
But how creepy it is, to know that the soil in your gardens or lawns that you bought from said Pig Farm may contain the remains of missing women. And as the Chief said, they owe it to the families who are still waiting to hear if the remains of their loved ones are recovered so they can get some closure.
This is shaping up to be one of the most hideous murder cases in Canadian history. What next? everyone is asking.
And now Mr. Piggy's lawyer is threatening to quit because he says they need a team of at least six lawyer to deal with the case. Piggy claims to be broke. And they want the government to chip in for the legal costs. What next is right!
More as the case unfolds. Incredible, isn't it?
THURSDAY, March 11/04
After seeing "Monster" last night, I'm still thinking about it. An excellent movie. Intense and compelling and such a story! The script was excellent, not overly graphic, but showing how this abused woman became such a 'monster' so you could have some compassion for her and for a couple of her hapless victims.
Meanwhile more horrifying events are unfolding right here in my city in relation to the infamous "Pig Farm" and disappearance of over 60 Downtown East Side street women. There have been over 15 charges laid so far in the case. The culprit is the Pig Farmer, a sleezy red-haired creep named "Willie".
For anyone not up on this story, which is likely the worst case of serial
killing in Canadian history: They've been investigating over a year now with a team of archaeologists sifting through soils from the farm. It became clear early on (from the first week or two) that there was a sinister, evil thing happening out there when the police started checking the equipment such as the meat grinder and chipper, then investigating meat-packing plants where he might have sold his pork.
So now it is headlines that they are warning anyone who got meat off this farm for the last couple of years (it wasn't commercially sold, but given to friends, associates etc) that the meat might be contaminated by human flesh. Meaning?..you guessed it...how he disposed of the bodies. This is possible one of the grossest cases ever to surface in some time. And there will undoubted be more to come as the rumours are rampant about
'snuff killings' and implications that biker gangs were often 'entertained' on his property.
The investigation has brought a lot more focus on the precarious life of hookers. In another recent case some supposedly 'ordinary' Joe with a wife and kid got arrested for a long series of serious assaults on street workers and in the investigation they found videos of him involved in sexual activity with young girls in Asian countries. And this guy was supposed to be an accredited member of one of those international aid programs who help needy kids in foreign countries.
As in the case of some of Aileen's
victims in "Monster" you cannot feel sympathy for some of the men she attacked as she had been horribly abused since her childhood. Such a tragic story with tragic consequences. Just like the hideous events at the Pig Farm.