Pickton one of crowd of monsters, inquiry told

Police had 63 top suspects in 2001 who could be serial killer of Vancouver missing women.

Retired RCMP Staff Sgt. Don Adam headed a joint RCMP-VPD missing women investigation leading up to serial killer Robert Pickton's arrest in early 2002.

The Missing Women Inquiry heard a chilling portrait Wednesday of the rogues’ gallery of violent men police rated “priority one” serial killer suspects prior to their eventual arrest of Robert Pickton.

Retired RCMP Staff Sgt. Don Adam, who took charge of the investigation in early 2001, testified the Port Coquitlam pig farmer was not the only “monster” flagged by either Vancouver Police or Coquitlam RCMP as prime suspects in the killings of Vancouver prostitutes.

“This file was full of hideous human beings and they needed to be looked at,” Adam said, choking with emotion at the inquiry.

He described several men other than Pickton – identified by code numbers – who were among 63 priority one suspects Adam wanted methodically examined when his Project Evenhanded team took over.

One was a known bad date who Edmonton police stopped in a van equipped for abductions.

Interior handles had been removed so a victim couldn’t escape, Adam said, and in the back was a mattress, whips, masks, restraints and a hacksaw.

Another man had been spotted picking up a prostitute in Vancouver and then driving his Jeep erratically on the North Shore. Adam said the woman apparently died jumping from the vehicle and the suspect “went right back to the Downtown Eastside to try to pick up another sex trade worker.”

Another suspect was caught trying to flee a home police had been called to after reports of a woman screaming.

Officers forced him to open his trunk.

“Inside was a dead sex trade worker,” Adam said. “She had been bound and wrapped up in duct tape. They found out she had been strangled and beaten.”

When officers searched the man’s home, he said, they found 31 books on serial killers.

“These people will educate themselves,” Adam said, so they can become skilled at disposing of bodies, defeating DNA tests and avoiding scrutiny.

“They will be educating themselves by watching this, right now,” Adam said, referring to the live web-streamed video feed of the inquiry.

As scary as the known violent suspects were, Adam said, he was aware some serial killers are personable and considered good dates – such as the Green River killer – making them much harder to catch.

He said it’s easy to see Pickton as the killer in hindsight, but police could not afford to succumb to tunnel vision and ignore potential suspects.

He rejected a characterization at the inquiry that he and other Mounties were uncaring about the vanishing women and were just “stumbling around” reviewing old files.

“We knew we had an active serial killer,” he said. “We were frantic.”

While some women simply vanished, Adam’s team was also looking at clusters of bodies that could have been related.

Some murdered Vancouver prostitutes had previously been dumped near Mission.

Adam said he did not rule out Pickton as a missing women suspect even after his DNA failed to match that of the killer in the so-called Valley murders, because officers had to assume there were multiple serial killers at work.

Later, he said, the killings of some sex trade workers on Vancouver Island led him to think the serial killer may have moved there.

Pickton was only caught in February 2002 after a rookie Coquitlam RCMP officer who wasn’t on Adam’s team got a warrant to search Pickton’s trailer for illegal guns and found personal effects of missing women.

The discovery triggered an initial search of the property for murder evidence.

Even then, Adam told the inquiry, Pickton nearly got away.

He said the presiding judge was close to shutting down the search as taking too long when police matched blood drops found in the trailer to DNA of two missing women.

That allowed authorities to lay the first two murder charges and continue the search, which became an archaelogical dig.

When Adam interrogated Pickton that month, his officers had not yet found much more damning evidence – severed body parts in freezers on the farm.

Adam told the inquiry Pickton began killing in 1991 and was a “fully functioning” serial killer who had perfected his method by 1995.

He also called for the establishment of a national DNA databank for missing persons, adding the lack of one hampered the Pickton investigation and others to this day.

Just Posted

Opioid overdoses killing three people a month in Chilliwack

35 deaths in 2018 locally compare to 23 in 2017, 13 in 2016 up from about five per year before that

More people in Chiliwack coming in to shelters to get out of the cold

Ruth and Naomi’s went over-capacity this week to accommodate shelter guests coming in from the cold

Agassiz break and enter suspect arrested

The Chilliwack man faces charges relating to break and enters throughout Agassiz

Outdoor rink, lagoon improvements on the agenda for Harrison

The projects are intended to increase tourism numbers and infrastructure in the resort village

Chilliwack parent urges fellow dog owners to keep Fido off school grounds

Risks of harmful encounters between kids on and dogs are too high, says Chilliwack mom

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Prominent B.C. realtor says he doesn’t know how child porn got on his computer

Closing arguments heard in Ian Meissner’s Chilliwack trial for accessing, possessing child porn

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Avalanche control planned tomorrow on Highway 1

The highway will be closed in the morning east of Revelstoke

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Mayors approve SkyTrain extension to UBC

Next step is a business plan and public consultation

Most Read