Thursday, August 26, 2010
Pickton tipster to share in reward
Bill Hiscox was first person to alert police to serial killer
The man who first tipped off police about Robert Pickton more than three years before the serial killer's arrest will share a $100,000 reward with five other people.
Bill Hiscox, who now lives in Victoria, will get $17,500, his lawyer, Michael Mines, confirmed Wednesday after contacting the Vancouver police board.
News Article online access: at The Vancouver Sun
The money was offered in May 1999 for information leading to a conviction in Vancouver's missing women case.
"For Bill, it hasn't been about the money," Mines said. "It's been about having the authorities listen to his story and acknowledge his story."
Mines said the recent report by Deputy Chief Doug LePard on the botched investigation confirms Hiscox's important role in the case.
"The crucial thing is that Bill provided the information in 1998 before there was any reward money," Mines said. "So, hopefully, this will act as some sort of closure for him."
LePard's report confirms that Hiscox called police in July of that year "with second-hand information that Pickton was responsible for the killing of Sarah de Vries at his Coquitlam pig farm, and might be responsible for the rest of the missing women."
Hiscox told the Victoria Times Colonist in a recent interview that he was working for Pickton's P and B Salvage in Surrey at the time and occasionally visited the farm. A woman who cleaned Pickton's trailer told Hiscox she had noticed bags of bloody clothing and women's identification there.
"We sat down one night and [she] told me, 'You know what, Billy, I think that's where all the girls are going, right there.' I said, 'You know what? I've got the same friggin' feeling.' And she says, 'Well, what are we going to do about it?' And I said, 'Well, somebody's going to need to make a ... phone call here, and I guess I'm going to have to do that.' And I did."
Vancouver police and Coquitlam RCMP followed up on the tip over the next months, and interviewed Hiscox a number of different times. Investigators also gathered other evidence pointing at Pickton before the investigation stalled in August 1999 due to jurisdictional disputes, poor management and shoddy analysis of the information, LePard found.
Pickton kept on killing for another 2 1/2 years. LePard said 13 more women went missing in that period, and DNA and other evidence connects 11 of them to Pickton's farm.
Hiscox could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But he said in an interview two weeks ago that nothing about the case makes any sense to him, and that only a public inquiry will get to the bottom of what happened.
"I would like an inquiry, too, to find out why they didn't act on all this information, why they didn't do what they were supposed to do," he said.
As for the reward, Hiscox said it was never about the money. The reward was posted some 10 months after he first came forward with information.
"I had no intentions about having any of this money in the first place," he said. "But now that I'm in the situation I'm in, hey, that would be great. It would give me a new start in life again."
Hiscox declined to go into much detail about his life, other than to say he's struggling to get back on his feet after battles with substance abuse.
"I've been living," he said. "That's all I can say."
The police board did not identify the other five people who will share the reward with Hiscox. The reward consisted of $70,000 from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor-General and $30,000 from the Vancouver police department.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
BY LINDSAY KINES, POSTMEDIA NEWS AUGUST 26, 2010