Officer ‘lied’ that missing woman was safe

Advocate tells inquiry she knew many of serial killer Pickton's victims

Elaine Allan worked at the WISH drop-in centre for women in the Downtown Eastside from 1998 to 2001.

Elaine Allan worked at the WISH drop-in centre for women in the Downtown Eastside from 1998 to 2001.

A Vancouver Police Department officer was accused Tuesday of fabricating a story that a missing prostitute whose DNA would later be found on the Pickton farm was actually safe and in a drug recovery program.

Elaine Allan, who ran the WISH drop-in centre in the Downtown Eastside, testified before the Missing Women Inquiry that VPD Const. Dave Dickson told her in 1999 missing woman Tiffany Drew did not want to be contacted to avoid jeopardizing her recovery.

“He lied to me,” Allan said.

She had pressed Dickson to investigate the disappearance when Drew’s friend, a woman named Ashwan, became “hysterical” and insistent something was horribly wrong because they used a buddy system to track each other.

Dickson seemed indifferent and didn’t file a missing person report, she said.

Drew’s DNA was later found in the 2002 search of the Port Coquitlam farm. Serial killer Robert Pickton, who was convicted in six other killings, was charged but never tried for her murder.

Relatives of victims who previously testified at the inquiry had praised Dickson, calling him one of the few officers who seemed to take the disappearances seriously.

Allan told the inquiry she knew 20 women who vanished from the Downtown Eastside, including five of those Pickton was convicted of murdering.

She described Georgina Papin as the “social maven” of the neighbourhood and said she regularly saw the “petite and elfin” Sereena Abotsway.

One by one they disappeared, feeding a sense of terror in the Downtown Eastside.

“It’s like there was a monster out there,” Allan recalled. “There was this evil force swallowing up women and we didn’t know what it was.”

Some believed women were being snatched and put on freighters to be sex slaves before being thrown in the ocean, she said.

“Everyone considered every possible theory.”

Allan also recalled ejecting two women from the WISH centre for “hustling dates.”

The two women – friends of Pickton’s – repeatedly brought sex trade workers to his farm, according to evidence heard at his trial.

The inquiry is investigating how police failed to stop Pickton much sooner despite considerable evidence that pointed to him as a suspect.

Commissioner Wally Oppal warned inquiry participants that time will be tight in light of the new government deadline of June 30 for a final report.

He said testimony will be cut off in late April.

“We have to move this thing,” he said.

Cameron Ward, the lawyer representing the families of 18 victims, complained of foot-dragging by authorities who have yet to release critical records.

He will argue for an adjournment of the inquiry until those documents are disclosed and to ensure he has adequate time to prepare.

That could delay the expected testimony before the inquiry of VPD Deputy Chief Doug LePard, who is set to take the stand next Monday.

The VPD has been accused at the inquiry of failing to properly investigate reports of missing sex trade workers or to act on the advice of its own geographic profiler that one or more serial killers were hunting prostitutes in the Downtown Eastside.

 

Tiffany Drew’s DNA was eventually found on the Pickton farm. Robert Pickton was charged but never tried with her murder.

 

Just Posted

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

web
Father’s Day Parade planned for Mission

Classic vehicles from the 1920s to the 1970s will drive through Mission, Hatzic on June 20

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

.
Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read