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Focus On Women, December 2002
I WAS SHOCKED!!
I was shocked and horrified as the details of the Pickton pig farm investigation
began to emerge. How could anything like this have happened in our beautiful
British Columbia? During the initial media releases, the police assured the
public that Robert Pickton was not the only suspect and that they are launching
an investigation of up to 600 “persons of interest”. My shock comes
from the lack of public outcry at this statement. Are there really 600 people
living among us that are considered capable of such unbelievable acts –
how many across Canada?
Because I work with a database, I can’t stop wondering how they developed
this list. What kind of report would give such results? How many criminals did
the search involve before it produced the “cream of the crop”? How
did they draw the line? What about number 601 or 602?
My biggest question is whether or not this list includes the name of the only
person who knows what happened to my 14-year-old daughter, Lindsey Jill Nicholls,
who vanished on August 2, 1993. Whoever took my beautiful daughter that day
is still out there and must be very good at what he does….her body has
never been found.
How many victims have met the same fate? In BC, there are currently 261 women
who have been listed as missing for 2 months to 27 years and 125 unidentified
human remains at the coroner’s office. Nationally, there are over 6,000
unidentified DNA samples from crime scenes. In spite of these staggering statistics,
there isn’t a national DNA data bank for missing persons. How can we link
the victims to crime scenes without it? What if there are Canadian victims of
the Green River murderer?
As a society, we will suffer as much crime as we are willing to accept. As
long as we allow these criminals to prey upon us while vigorously protecting
their rights, we will have more victims. One of the most effective tools in
law enforcement today is forensic science. The government is currently asking
for public input about their current DNA legislation – the website is
From my perspective there are two issues:
1) All convicted offenders should have to submit to a DNA test regardless of
when they committed their crime, when they got convicted or how many people
they have killed and/or raped. Currently, there are different rules for offenders
convicted prior to the legislation – they must be convicted of two or
more murders or sexual offences before their DNA can be placed in the National
2) Although the government is not asking for opinions about a missing person
data bank, they have said they would look at the issue if there were a strong
public will. It is an absolute necessity to link victims to crime scenes and
murderers to victims.
Please tell me that the possibility of convicting even a small percentage of
the worst criminals and keeping them behind bars is at least as important to
Canadians as keeping Don Cherry’s partner on Hockey Night in Canada.
Pick up a pen and write to:
DNA Data Bank Legislation Discussion Paper
Department of Justice Canada
Criminal Law Policy Section
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
Send an e-mail - mailto:DNA.Consultation.ADN@justice.gc.ca.
Or Fax: (613) 941-9310