Mines client provides early information in Missing Women Case

A chilling 1998 audiotape reveals detailed information about a Port Coquitlam pig farmer charged with murdering six prostitutes who disappeared from the Downtown Eastside.

News Article online access: April, 2002 | June 2003

Pickton tape given to police in 1998

‘He’s quite the strange character, eh, very, very strange’

Suzanne Fournier
The Province
Thursday, April 25, 2002

A chilling 1998 audiotape reveals detailed information about a Port Coquitlam pig farmer charged with murdering six prostitutes who disappeared from the Downtown Eastside.

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Part of poster of Vancouver’s missing women

A copy of the tape was given to Vancouver police in 1998, yet they did not investigate Robert “Willie” Pickton until Feb. 5, 2002, when RCMP got a search warrant.

The tape obtained by The Province is of a conversation between Wayne Leng, who runs a website on the missing women from California, and Bill Hiscox, who was employed by Pickton in 1997 and 1998.

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On a 1998 tape, Bill Hiscox said it’s an odd coincidence that Pickton was charged with attempted murder of a prostitute in 1997 because of “all the girls that are going missing, and all the purses and IDs that are out there in his trailer and stuff.” Hiscox said on the
Pickton farm there are “easy places to hide things out there.” Police are now searching the farm.

Hiscox did not know until The Province contacted him this week that the tape existed.

“I’m really happy to hear it, because it proves I tried to do the right thing back in 1998, which is go to the police with my concerns about what I and other people had seen at the farm,” Hiscox said.

Hiscox tells Leng on the tape: “Listen, he [Willie Pickton] was already charged, it seems about a month ago, with trying to slash a prostitute’s throat, and stab her. And he got off the charges.”

[Pickton was charged in 1997 with attempted murder of prostitute Wendy Lynn Eistetter at the farm. Eistetter, her stomach cut open, ran to a nearby farm. Pickton was also seriously cut in the incident. The charges were stayed.]

Hiscox says it’s an odd coincidence “with all the girls that are going missing, and all the purses and IDs that are out there in his trailer and stuff. He has a 25-acre farm, a lot of heavy-duty machinery out there and stuff, you know, easy places to hide things out there. And you know, he’s quite the strange character, eh, very, very strange. His name’s Willie. He’s the owner of P & B Salvage here in Surrey. They salvage crap from old houses and stuff like that. He’s a really strange character.

“He’s got a farm out in Port Coquitlam and you know he frequents the downtown area all the time, for girls. Everything started clicking on me you know, about this guy.”

Hiscox tells Leng that he has talked to Vancouver police and that “they’re going to look into it and check this guy out for sure, here.” Hiscox says he spoke to Det. Al Howlett, head of the Vancouver police missing persons section, and the Surrey RCMP.

Hiscox tells Leng he has spoken to a friend who knows Willie, “but she doesn’t want to get involved. She’s kind of scared about it. But she told me, ‘Billy, you wouldn’t believe the IDs and shit out in that trailer. There’s women’s clothes out there, there’s purses. You know, what’s that guy doing, it is like really weird.’ ”

David Pickton, Willie’s brother, has told The Province they often bought salvage vehicles that contained women’s clothing and other personal items.

Leng said yesterday that he taped all phone calls after putting up posters seeking information about the disappearance of Sarah deVries in April 1998.

Hiscox said he phoned Leng after seeing one of the posters and thinking about the Pickton farm.

Police searching the farm have recovered human remains and alleged evidence of a serial murderer at work for several years.

Leng said he gave the tape to police in 1998, and since then 22 women have disappeared, including the six women Willie Pickton is alleged to have murdered. A total of 54 women are missing.

Pickton, 50, is charged with the murders of Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Jacquilene McDonell, Heather Bottomley, Diane Rock and Andrea Joesbury.

Ernie Crey, whose sister disappeared in late 2000 or early 2001, said he was shocked at the specific information in the tape.

“If [police] had been doing a thorough investigation, they could not have failed to understand what the tape was telling them, or find the person referred to in the tape,” said Crey.

“It hits me like a sledgehammer . . . something went deeply wrong in the Vancouver Police Department and we need to get to the bottom of it.”

Deborah Jardine’s daughter Angela disappeared in November 1998, about four months after police heard the tape.

Jardine, of Sparwood, is demanding a public inquiry.

Vancouver Det. Scott Driemel yesterday refused to answer questions about the missing women.

“We’ll not answer those sorts of questions in between the briefings,” he said.

Informant in Pickton case fails in bid to claim reward

He says police have reneged on promise to protect his family

Suzanne Fournier
The Province
Thursday, June 26, 2003

A man who gave information to police about Robert Pickton tried yesterday to claim a $100,000 reward in the missing-women murders and was immediately given the brushoff by police.

“I gave them what they needed to go after Mr. Pickton and now I’m homeless, running for my life, and the police won’t protect me,” said Scott Chubb, who worked for accused serial killer Robert Pickton and his brother Dave starting in 1994.

“I tried to apply for the reward with my police file number, and they told me to get lost. I’m going to get a lawyer to apply for me because it will force the RCMP to admit that I helped them and they promised to keep my family safe.”

Chubb provided The Province with 500 pages of transcripts of several lengthy interviews with the RCMP, in which he provides specific information about Robert Pickton and other suspects.

Port Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Ted Van Overbeek promised Chubb protection during a third interview last Feb. 13.

“We’ve done this several times before and, uh, we will take care of you . . . we can take care of other things, other needs for you and your family,” said Van Overbeek.

“We talked about witness protection before . . . if things were to break . . . you know, helping you out, getting you re-established and that type of thing.”

Chubb — who said he would give the reward money “to the Downtown Eastside working girls” — says he won’t testify at Pickton’s trial unless RCMP reinstate witness protection for him and his family.

He is in hiding near Kamloops.

Chubb says the RCMP offered him witness protection shortly after Robert Pickton was arrested in February 2002: “The RCMP told me to grab my wife and son and jump in a cab immediately, and then they paid for us to live in hotels and then in the country for three months under witness protection — then the RCMP just kicked us out.”

The only formal claimant so far for the reward is Bill Hiscox, who worked for the Pickton brothers in their P & B Salvage business in 1998. Hiscox applied for the reward through his Vancouver lawyer, Michael Mines.

Hiscox called Vancouver police and Surrey RCMP in 1998 to tell them his suspicions about Robert “Willy” Pickton.

An audiotape obtained by The Province confirms that Hiscox told police Willy Pickton frequented the Downtown Eastside, was involved in a 1997 violent incident with a prostitute and had a Port Coquitlam farm where he stored women’s identification, clothes and purses. Pickton was charged after the alleged incident in 1997 but the charges were stayed.

Mines said that Hiscox gave police five interviews, one of which was taped, and even visited the farm with Vancouver detectives Al Howlett and Lori Shenher, who headed up the VPD attempt to find missing women.

“This is not really about the money for Bill but about the fact that back in 1998 he did the right thing by going to police,” said Mines.

Family members of some of the missing women say they passed along tips about the Pickton pig farm to police that they gleaned when they went looking for their loved ones in the Downtown Eastside.

Lynn Frey from Campbell River, whose stepdaughter Marnie Frey disappeared in 1997, said: “It seems to me the Vancouver Police Board would have to consider the information about the pig farm that was passed along to them by me and by other relatives, a long time ago after Marnie first went missing.

“It’s not about the money, which we would use to establish a safe house for women in the Downtown Eastside, but it is about getting the Vancouver police to account for what they did with the information they had.”

Police have confirmed that Marnie Frey’s remains have been found at the pig farm but no murder charges have been laid against Pickton in connection with her death.

The deadline for applying for the $100,000 reward was extended yesterday to April 30, 2004.

Const. Sarah Bloor said the reward cannot be issued until the case is closed.

Pickton’s preliminary hearing on 15 first-degree murder counts resumes Monday for an estimated two weeks.