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.

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

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

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

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