Families of victims linked to Robert Pickton, a convicted serial killer, are urgently requesting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to preserve critical evidence from the investigation. Lorelei Williams, a relative of victim Tanya Holyk, alongside lawyers, advocates for missing and murdered women, and other victims’ families, conveyed this message at a press conference on Monday.
Williams, along with the group, expressed concern over the RCMP’s decision to destroy or return items of evidence from the case. They are calling for a halt to these plans, emphasizing the need for some personal items to be returned to the victims’ families. The group highlights the cultural and personal significance of these belongings, underscoring the importance of respecting different cultural practices in handling such items.
Robert Pickton, who was convicted in 2007 of second-degree murder of six women and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for 25 years, left many families without closure. The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to uphold his sentence and stay first-degree murder charges involving 20 other women further complicates the situation for these families.
A letter has been sent to key authorities, including the federal public safety minister, the RCMP commissioner, and B.C.’s attorney general and solicitor general, urging the preservation of the Pickton case evidence. Sarah Jean de Vries, who also lost a family member to Pickton, stressed the significance of the belongings, emphasizing the deep emotional connection and value they hold for the families.
The RCMP maintains that disposing of the evidence would not hinder future prosecutions of Pickton, as all essential evidence has been documented and retained. However, families and advocates argue that there could still be valuable insights within these items. They suggest that community members familiar with the victims from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside could assist in identifying items and providing closure to the families.
This situation has created a sense of urgency among the families and advocates of Pickton’s victims. They are adamantly seeking to ensure the preservation of evidence that holds not only potential investigative value but also significant personal and cultural importance. As they race against time, their efforts underscore a broader struggle for justice, closure, and the respectful handling of evidence in sensitive cases such as this.