Dozens gather along Highway 16 as teen’s remains brought home

People gather along Highway 16, also known as the Highway of Tears, for the return of 18-year-old Jessica Patrick’s remains. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

Family says remains discovered over the weekend are those of Jessica Patrick, 18

Family and friends of an 18-year-old whose body was found near Smithers, B.C., gathered along Highway 16 as the teen’s body is brought home from Prince George.

Jessica Patrick’s remains were discovered over the weekend, nearly two weeks after she was reported missing.

Investigators haven’t confirmed the remains are Patrick’s — but family say they are certain.​

The call to gather along Highway 16 as Patrick’s body is driven home went out on Facebook Wednesday night. Many comments suggested people arrive dressed in red in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Patrick, who also used the last name Balczer, was a young mother and a member of the Lake Babine First Nation.​

Jacquie Bowes, Patrick’s cousin, said those coming together along the road — also known as the Highway of Tears — are showing their support for the teen’s family.

“This is the most beautiful gesture from all over — that’s supporting the family right now,” Bowes said.

Jessica Patrick, 18, went missing at the end of August. She leaves behind a one-year-old daughter. (Facebook)

Patrick was last seen on Aug. 31 and reported missing on Sept. 3. No further information on her death has been released.

SOURCE: CBC News

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Pipeline ‘Man Camps’ Loom over B.C.’s Highway of Tears

An industry camp for workers on a pipeline near Rainbow Lake, Alta. is shown on Jan. 27, 2013. Photo by Jason Woodhead on Flickr Creative Commons.

Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation is nestled on the banks of Stuart Lake in north-central British Columbia, surrounded by rolling foothills and tall trees.

It is a relatively remote community, breathtaking in scenery and dependent on economic opportunities in forestry, mining, and pipeline development. It is a community bracing for major change.

Over the next decade, as many as 6,000 new energy industry workers could descend upon the region. The prospect of such a big influx of workers living in nearby “man camps” has aroused fears of increased violence and drug use.

The influx could more than double the population of about 4,500 in the Fort St. James area, which includes the municipality, rural communities and First Nations. Nak’azdli has just 1,972 members living both on and off reserves. The nearest city, Prince George, is 160 kilometres away.

To get ahead of the documented challenges that accompany an influx of temporary workers from outside the region, the Nak’azdli and Lake Babine First Nations are creating two full-time positions, funded by the B.C. government, to help them prepare.

Nak’azdli Band Councillor Ann Marie Sam says if several industrial project proposals go ahead as planned over the next decade, as many as six new work camps, housing up to 1,000 workers each, could be built within 60 to 100 kilometres of the community.

Among the proposed projects are TransCanada’s: the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the North Montney Mainline pipeline and the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline. The company is reviewing the Prince Rupert project, however, because Pacific NorthWest LNG announced in July that it would not proceed with a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal near Port Edward, B.C. due to economy uncertainty.

The Nak’azdli band had also expressed opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would have run through its territory had it not been rejected by the federal government last year.

The danger of bringing in “man camps”

The “man camps” are precisely what their name implies: work camps housing mostly male employees working on resource development projects.

There were more than four men for every woman working in the forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas industries in Canada in 2016, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal Liberal government is now reviewing Canada’s conservation laws and is expected to tackle this issue. In June, it recommended changes to environmental assessments to require a gender-based analysis of an industrial project’s impacts.

When the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project was under review, community members expressed concern about two camps slated for construction in the traditional territory of the nearby Lake Babine First Nation. The Lake Babine and Nak’azdli nations found common cause, as Nak’azdli’s traditional territory hosts mining and forestry camps already.

The two nations commissioned a joint report, funded by B.C.’s Department of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, with research by the consulting company Firelight Group. Statistics from the study, released in February 2017, indicate that industrial camps are associated with increased rates of sexual assault and violence against Indigenous women, along with addiction, sexually transmitted infections, and family violence.

“The potential for sexual assault, violence, disappearances, (sexually transmitted diseases), increases with the number of trucks on the road,” study author Ginger Gibson told National Observer. “There’s a whole whack of issues that don’t get considered until construction is happening and that’s too late.”

The final report recommends governments and agencies consider legislation, programs and services to address problems associated with industrial camps, and plan for integrated service delivery in advance of resource development projects. It also states a need for governments to allocate new financial and human resources to health, social services, and housing in the region.

Specific recommendations, from provision of addiction counseling to building recreational facilities, are designed to prevent problems and to address them when the do occur.

In an email, a spokesperson for TransCanada wrote that the company regularly engages with Indigenous communities and would continue to do so throughout the life of the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project. Although TransCanada says it attended an info session during the research phase of the industrial camp report, it wouldn’t provide further comment on the findings.

The B.C. government didn’t respond to requests from National Observer for comment for this article.

A view of Stuart Lake in north central British Columbia. This area is home to the small Nak’azdli First Nation, which is bracing for challenges that can accompany an influx of energy workers. Photo courtesy of the Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation

‘Rigger culture’ puts Indigenous women at risk?

The Firelight Group’s research included discussions with local community members about the experience of Indigenous women living near construction camps.

“There’s a ‘rigger culture’ that exists, where a lot of people are working together in a hyper masculine context and they’re not really taking care of themselves — they might be drinking and doing drugs, and then they’re blowing off steam,” said Gibson.

“They’re not in their home community and they don’t think about the (local) people as their family or neighbours so they don’t treat people very kindly.”

Following the findings of the study, Nak’azdli leadership is looking at ways to prepare for the next influx of workers. Community members talk about preparing to welcome newcomers to their territory. Industry representatives talk about working with Indigenous groups to provide local cultural competency courses to their employees.

The Nak’azdli Health Centre is assembling rape kits to gather physical evidence after assaults.

Coun. Ann Marie Sam says planning for assaults is an unfortunate necessity.

“When we started developing rape crisis plans the first question for me was, ‘Why do we have to tell our women we can’t protect you and sexual assaults are going to happen? And when they do, we’re going to have a plan for you,'” she said in an interview. “I thought it was so unfair for our community to have to do that.”

Community leaders worry that nearby women and children could be a target for workers who parachute into the area.

Sam recalled seeing an unfamiliar woman in town about a year ago when she was out walking with one of her daughters.

“I watched her, wondering who she was. One of the delivery trucks from the (Mount Milligan) mine was coming through town, driving fast, saw her, slams on the breaks, dust on the road and stops beside her. She gets in the truck and I don’t know whose daughter that was — if she was a mother, or whose sister that was. But that really struck me.”

Sam said she wondered if the driver solicited the young woman for sex. “Who do you report that to? I didn’t report it because I didn’t know who she was and I didn’t know what happened to her.”

Among risks identified in the Firelight report are increased rates of sexually transmitted infections. The Nak’azdli Health Centre is launching an awareness campaign and promotes STI testing for both workers and community members.

“We want to welcome workers to our town but we also want to let them know that these are the rules of our town,” community health nurse Liza Sam, the councillor’s sister, told National Observer.

“They (workers) don’t have any ownership to our town, so we really want to keep our community intact with less disturbances,” she explained. “If the mine’s gonna be here or other industries, we want them to be the best they can be for community members.”

The proximity of Nak’azdli to the infamous Highway of Tears only adds to the community’s safety concerns.

Since the late 1960s, dozens of women and girls — most of whom are Indigenous — have gone missing or disappeared along Highway 16, an east-west highway spanning northern B.C. that eventually leads through Edmonton and Saskatoon before meeting the TransCanada Highway at Portage la Prairie, Man. The “Highway of Tears” takes in smaller roads in the vicinity too, explains Highway of Tears Walkers co-ordinator Brenda Wilson.

Women reach for an embrace during the Nak’azdli Whut’en’s All Nations Gathering between Aug. 4 and 6, 2017. Photo courtesy of the Nak’azdli Whut’en on Facebook

Away from home with ‘a lot of money’

Mia is a First Nations woman in Alberta. A former sex trade worker, she said camp workers and sex go hand-in-hand. She worked in Fort McMurray for 10 years during the oilsands boom and was on call “23 hours a day.”

Mia’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

“I think the guys are maybe lonely,” she told National Observer. “They’re away from home, they have a lot of money — disposable income if you will.”

She came from what she describes as an abusive, broken home, and said adversarial circumstances led to the sex industry at age 17. She said she was encouraged to tell clients that she was Spanish or Italian, because Indigenous women were considered trash.

“The men became angry if they knew (you were Indigenous), and your value goes down significantly, so we didn’t reveal that.”

Mia described many dangerous encounters, including one with a client she said threatened to hang her in his apartment in Fort McMurray — a memory that haunts her. Employers know full well what’s going on, she added. But they don’t get involved.

“In that industry, nothing would surprise me. I can see people that may be running the camps turning a blind eye to this kind of thing.”

Mia said local women and girls in Alberta are recruited to the sex industry to service camp workers on a regular basis by pimps and escort agencies, and that locals in communities like Nak’azdli wouldn’t be passed by.

“We already know of cases where our young people have been recruited right off the reserve through the Internet. But if (a camp’s) in their own backyards, I would be very concerned,” she explained. “It’s scary. I hope that the communities are looking at ways of preventing and also educating on exploitation.”

Read full story here

September 21st 2017

RCMP Say Highway Of Tears Killers May Never Be Caught

RCMP continue to investigate the deaths and disappearances of 18 young women along a 720 km stretch of northern B.C. dubbed the Highway of Tears. (Contributed/RCMP)

RCMP continue to investigate the deaths and disappearances of 18 young women along a 720 km stretch of northern B.C. dubbed the Highway of Tears. (Contributed/RCMP)

“We’ve turned over every stone we can” – RCMP

CBC News Posted: Oct 17, 2016

A decade after the launch of the RCMP’s high profile Highway of Tears investigation into missing and murdered women in northern B.C., police admit they may never find the killers or make more arrests.

‘Perhaps they’ll never be solved’

“I’ve been honest with our [victims’] families and I say perhaps they’ll never be solved,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Wayne Clary of the E-PANA unit, told CBC host Anna Maria Tremonti during a townhall on missing and murdered women packed with several hundred people in Prince George Thursday night.

For a decade, E-PANA has been investigating the cold case deaths and disappearances of 18 young women along a 720 km street of northern B.C. dubbed the Highway of Tears.  PANA is an Inuit word for the god who cared for souls in the underworld.

At the height of E-PANA’s work, 70 people worked the investigation. Now, just 8 investigators are left.

“That’s the reality and that’s what I tell the families,” said Clary. “We can’t keep that going forever when there’s no work.”

Women pore over a map that marks deaths and disappearances along the Highway of Tears. (Contributed/UBCIC)

Women pore over a map that marks deaths and disappearances along the Highway of Tears. (Contributed/UBCIC)

RCMP have named 2 suspects in 4 women’s deaths

E-PANA was launched in 2006 amidst outrage over the number of deaths and disappearances of mostly Indigenous young women in northern B.C.

Indigenous leaders said 50 girls and women had been murdered or gone missing between Prince George and Prince Rupert since 1970.

E-PANA took on 18 of those cases, re-interviewing witnesses and families, following new leads and tips, and converting 700 bankers boxes of dusty police files into a searchable database.

Officers have identified a suspect in three of the murders, but that man is now dead. A different man has been charged with the death of Monica Jack, but that Highway of Tears case is still before the courts.

Still, many families are still waiting for answers and justice for their missing and murdered loved ones.

“We care and we’re trying and we’ll keep following up on the tips and interviews that come in,” said Clary.

‘These …are the toughest to investigate’

“These kinds of stranger-on-stranger investigations are the toughest to investigate,especially in this area, where it’s very isolated, it’s very lonely. A lot of these crimes happened a long time ago.  Some of our victims don’t get found, some don’t get found right away, and evidence is lost,” said Clary.

“Witnesses die. They may or may not know they had important information and [now] we’ll never retrieve it.  In some cases, some of the men who committed these crimes are dead,” said Clary.

Still, Clary says when victim’s families hold vigils or walk the Highway of Tears, the media attention often triggers a spike of tips to police.

“It’s important to keep this alive,” Clary said.

"Killer on the Loose!' is the warning on a prominent billboard beside Highway 16 in northern B.C., where numerous young women have died or disappeared. (CBC )

“Killer on the Loose!’ is the warning on a prominent billboard beside Highway 16 in northern B.C., where numerous young women have died or disappeared. (CBC )

‘I imagine 50 women missing from West Vancouver’

“It’s the people from the communities that are going to solve these crimes,” he said. “We’ve turned over every stone we can.”

“Who’s protecting our young Indigenous girls and women?” asked Mary Teegee, the Director of Child and Family Services at Carrier Sekani Family Services in Prince George. “I often imagine 50 women missing from West Vancouver. What would be the outcry? For one thing, the [death toll] would never reach that in West Vancouver.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/rcmp-say-mmiw-highway-of-tears-missing-and-murdered-women-cases-may-never-be-solved-1.3805609

Bus Service Coming To Notorious ‘Highway Of Tears’ By End Of The Year

Highway 16 near Prince George, B.C., is shown on Monday, Oct. 8, 2012. A bus service that links communities along a notorious stretch of highway in northern British Columbia will carry passengers by the end of the year, the province's transportation minister said Wednesday

Highway 16 near Prince George, B.C., is shown on Monday, Oct. 8, 2012.

June 17, 2016

Highway of Tears bus service to run from Prince George to Prince Rupert

In Canada since the 1970s, Eighteen women and girls have been murdered or gone missing, along Highway 16 and adjacent routes in northern British Columbia.

A bus service that links communities along the notorious stretch of road also known as the Highway of Tears will carry passengers by the end of the year, the province’s transportation minister said Wednesday.

First Nations, social service agencies and women’s groups have been calling for a shuttle bus service in the area for several years to provide regular transportation for people who live in communities along the 750-kilometre route.

The highway cuts through the centre of the province and follows rivers and mountains, passing through numerous small communities, including Houston, Smithers and Burns Lake. The route also provides the main transportation link to and from remote First Nations villages located off the main highway.

Most cases of murdered and missing women remain unsolved, though investigators don’t believe a single killer is responsible.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone says agreements between 16 communities along the highway will allow B.C. Transit to operate a scheduled bus service between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

“Absolutely, this initiative is all about safety,” he said.

He said the communities, the province and B.C. Transit must still develop service schedules and provide extra buses for the route.

Stone said plans for the Highway 16 area also include offering bus driver training programs for First Nations to provide transportation service from their remote villages to other major communities along the highway.

Chief Corrina Leween of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation said the bus service helps many living in towns on or near the highway, but it offers little comfort to those off the main road.

“The work they are doing for the core group on the corridor is good, but for us it really doesn’t work because we’re off the beaten trail,” she said.

Leween said the main Cheslatta community of about 300 people is located about 25 kilometres south of Burns Lake and getting to the highway requires a ferry trip and travel on a dirt road.

Five Cheslatta people, including a family of four and a male elder, have disappeared from the area over the years, she said.

New Democrat Maurine Karagianis, the Opposition’s critic for women, said area residents and local politicians have called for improved transportation services for years, but the government has been stalling while many people hitchhike for rides with strangers.

“I say get on with it,” she said.

First Nations advocate Mary Teegee said a decade ago, dozens of people walked from Prince Rupert to Prince George to call for better transportation service along the highway.

“It has been 10 years since of the Highway of Tears recommendations report came out and we are finally making progress,” she said in a statement. “I view transportation as a human rights issue in the north and we are working toward making sure everyone has access.”

These images are of 18 women and girls whose deaths and disappearances are part of the RCMP's investigation of the Highway of Tears in British Columbia. The women were either found or last seen near Highway 16 or near Highways 97 and 5. From left to right: (Top row) Aielah Saric Auger, Tamara Chipman, Nicole Hoar, Lana Derrick, Alishia Germaine, Roxanne Thiara; (Middle) Ramona Wilson, Delphine Nikal, Alberta Williams, Shelley-Anne Bascu, Maureen Mosie, Monica Jack; (Bottom row) Monica Ignas, Colleen MacMillen, Pamela Darlington, Gale Weys, Micheline Pare, Gloria Moody. (Individual photos from Highwayoftears.ca)

These images are of 18 women and girls whose deaths and disappearances are part of the RCMP’s investigation of the Highway of Tears in British Columbia. The women were either found or last seen near Highway 16 or near Highways 97 and 5. From left to right: (Top row) Aielah Saric Auger, Tamara Chipman, Nicole Hoar, Lana Derrick, Alishia Germaine, Roxanne Thiara; (Middle) Ramona Wilson, Delphine Nikal, Alberta Williams, Shelley-Anne Bascu, Maureen Mosie, Monica Jack; (Bottom row) Monica Ignas, Colleen MacMillen, Pamela Darlington, Gale Weys, Micheline Pare, Gloria Moody. (Individual photos from Highwayoftears.ca)

Source: The Canadian Press

B.C. Northern Leaders Complain They Weren’t Invited To Highway Of Tears Gathering

The B.C. Transportation ministry has organized a meeting next week to discuss transit issues in northern B.C. in connection with missing and murdered women. But several high-profile community leaders say they haven't been invited. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The B.C. Transportation ministry has organized a meeting next week to discuss transit issues in northern B.C. in connection with missing and murdered women. But several high-profile community leaders say they haven’t been invited. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

CBC News

‘I do have my worries about this meeting,’ chief says

Several high profile community leaders who have decried the lack of transit in northern B.C. say they haven’t been invited to a long-awaited meeting next week in Smithers, where officials are slated to discuss the link between poor public transit and missing and murdered women.

For nearly a decade, families of missing and murdered women have called for cheap, safe public transit along the Highway of Tears.

B.C.’s ministry of transportation has organized a symposium in Smithers to talk about transit in the north. The ministry has invited several government managers in the region and staff from area First Nations groups. However, many mayors, MLAs, elected chiefs, and families of the missing women have not been invited.

And those on the guest list have been asked to make their own travel arrangements to the Smithers meeting.

“I do have my worries about this meeting,” said Carrier Sekanni Tribal Chief Terry Teegee, whose cousin, Ramona Wilson, was murdered on Highway 16. He was not invited.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice (NDP) wasn’t invited either, but she wants to be there.

Leadership needed on northern transit, MLA says

Rice said Transportation Minister Todd Stone appears to have changed his mind on whether better transit is needed in the north.

“I’m looking for the MoT (Ministry of Transportation) to provide some leadership,” Rice said. “He (Stone) said for the last few years that basically shuttle services or public transit was not practical and he said communities didn’t want it. It’s interesting he now has a change of heart. It’s gone from not feasible to something he’s exploring.

“But I’m not holding my breath,” Rice added.

Mary Teegee of Carrier-Sekanni Family Services said she’s trying to be optimistic and view the meeting as a positive step from the province.

“I’m hoping there’s going to be commitment from government to do something rather than have another meeting.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/highway-of-tears-transportation-1.3326246

Documents On Highway Of Tears Open Old Wounds As Missing-Women Inquiry Looms

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The Yellowhead, Highway 16, near Prince George, B.C., is pictured on October 8, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The Canadian Press

VICTORIA – The small British Columbia Cheslatta Carrier Nation has a decades-long anguished relationship with Highway 16, or the so-called Highway of Tears.

Five people from the community of less than 350 near Burns Lake in central B.C. have disappeared along the route, including an entire family of four, says Chief Corrina Leween.

At least 18 women went missing or were murdered along Highway 16 and the adjacent Highways 97 and 5 since the 1970s. Most cases remain unsolved, though investigators don’t believe a single killer is responsible.

The sorrow deepened recently with a damning report over deleted Transportation Ministry emails about the highway and its missing.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone has insisted that locals don’t want a bus service, but recently released documents highlight the concerns of local officials and contradict the minister.

The controversy could be swept up in a call by the federal Liberal government for an inquiry into Canada’s murdered and missing women. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised the inquiry during the election campaign.

“I would expect that because a number of women have gone missing, and or have been known to have been murdered along Highway 16, that Highway 16 will figure in the national inquiry,” said Stone. “Our government has been on the record for quite some time in supporting a national inquiry.”

B.C.’s Attorney General Suzanne Anton said she also expects an inquiry would focus on the highway.

“I’m not trying to second-guess the federal inquiry, but there probably will be an aspect about the north all across the country,” she said.

An RCMP report last year stated nearly 1,200 aboriginal women were murdered or went missing between 1980 and 2012.

Highway 16 stretches more than 700 kilometres between Prince George and Prince Rupert. It follows rivers and mountains and connects remote communities. Its route is dark, lonely and blood stained.

“Within (our) community, we have had an entire family that went missing, the Jack family,” said Leween. “One of our elders is missing.”

Casimel Jack, 70, was last seen a decade ago, walking along a road that connects to Highway 16 south of Burns Lake. He was hunting and carrying a rifle when he disappeared Sept. 18, 2005.

Ronald Jack, his wife, Doreen, and their two sons, Russell, 9, and Ryan, 4, vanished Aug. 1, 1989. The last anybody heard from the family was when Ronald called a family member from a Prince George pub to say he and his wife found jobs.

“They just simply disappeared. Mom, dad and the two boys,” Leween said.

She said successive B.C. governments have refused to move on First Nations’ requests to provide a regional transportation network. Leween described government consultations attempts as sophisticated stalling tactics.

“I, as a leader, don’t feel the government is doing enough to addresses the issue,” she said.

Leween rejected Stone’s claim that leaders across the north agree a large-scale transit service won’t work.

“It’s absolutely untrue,” she said. “The bus is desperately needed in our area. I go to Prince George quite often to meetings and I see the young women hitchhiking on that highway. It’s needed.”

Stone said the government is looking to develop shorter transportation connections between communities, but a region-wide transportation service is not workable.

“It’s difficult for many folks to comprehend, myself included, how a scheduled shuttle bus service across an 800 kilometre stretch of highway that’s very sparsely populated would meet the needs of people who live along the highway.”

Stone said his ministry is holding a transportation symposium in Smithers Nov. 24 to discuss practical, affordable and sustainable solutions for communities along Highway 16.

Opposition New Democrat Jennifer Rice, whose North Coast riding includes a section of Highway 16, said she has not been invited to the symposium but plans to attend.

“I’ve been here (in Victoria) two years, and I’ve been asking this question numerous times around improving the transportation and safety along Highway 16, and I’ve been shrugged off and told basically to move on and get a new idea,” she said.

Rice said two years ago when she accidentally locked herself out of her car on a stretch of the highway she felt the chill of being alone in the middle of nowhere.

“I was in a pull out, and I had no cell service and I was the only one there,” she said.

“I had just come back from Victoria and I had been asking questions about the Highway of Tears. Then this happened to me. I felt extremely vulnerable.”

Source: https://shar.es/15dh6G

Highway Of Tears Email Deletion Referred To RCMP By B.C. Privacy Watchdog

These images are of 18 women and girls whose deaths and disappearances are part of the RCMP's investigation of the Highway of Tears in British Columbia. The women were either found or last seen near Highway 16 or near Highways 97 and 5. (Individual photos from Highwayoftears.ca)

These images are of 18 women and girls whose deaths and disappearances are part of the RCMP’s investigation of the Highway of Tears in British Columbia. The women were either found or last seen near Highway 16 or near Highways 97 and 5. (Individual photos from Highwayoftears.ca)

CBC News

Transportation ministry staffer facing potential perjury charges for lying under oath

Transportation ministry staffer George Gretes could be facing charges after a report by B.C. Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham that reveals he lied under oath when he denied that he intentionally deleted Highway of Tears emails and records.

Denham has referred the matter to the RCMP, and Gretes has resigned.

The report, titled Access Denied, also found that Michele Cadario, deputy chief of staff in the premier’s office, routinely contravened freedom of information laws by bulk deleting emails on a daily basis. Denham’s investigation cited Cadario as having no email records, despite working in the premier’s office for two years.

“That’s hard to get your head around,” said NDP Leader John Horgan in reaction to the report. “You’re the second most powerful person in the premier’s office and you don’t use email?”

The Ministry of Advanced Education was also found to be in contravention of freedom of information laws due to “a negligent search for the records by the chief of staff.”

Denham’s says her report points to practices that threaten the integrity of access to information in B.C.

“It is difficult to overstate the seriousness of the problems that my office discovered in the course of this investigation,” she wrote. “It is important that the government take immediate action to restore public confidence in the access to information process.”

Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Minister Amrik Virk said Denham’s report “made a number of important findings” and announced that the government will hire former B.C. privacy commissioner David Loukidelis to advise it on how to address the recommendations.

But Horgan said Virk should also resign because of freedom of information concerns that came to light when Virk was minister of advanced education.

“It’s almost ludicrous to have him responsible for freedom of information now when he was circumventing it,” said Horgan. “He was the minister for advanced education and had to leave the portfolio around freedom of information issues.”

Whistleblower

Denham’s investigation began when her office was approached by Tim Duncan, a former executive assistant to B.C.’s minister of transportation and highways.

Elizabeth Denham

B.C. Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has referred to the RCMP her findings about the intentional deleting of emails. (CBC)

He claimed to be bothered by an incident in relation to a request for email records about the so-called Highway of Tears, a notorious stretch of highway along which a number of women have been murdered or gone missing.

Duncan claimed Gretes was unhappy to see he had applicable email records on his computer and ordered him to “triple delete” them. When he hesitated, Duncan claimed Gretes grabbed his keyboard and mouse away from him and deleted them himself.

Duncan did not complain at the time and went on to work for the Liberal caucus. He was let go from that job in March, but after returning to Alberta, decided to speak out.

“He said he sympathized with the families of the murdered and missing victims on the highway because his own father had been murdered in a domestic incident in 2010,” Denham writes.

‘Triple deleting’

According to the report, “triple deleting” means first moving an email to the computer system’s “deleted” folder, expunging the email from the folder itself and then manually overriding a backup that allows the system to recover deleted items for up to 14 days.

Denham says Gretes first flatly denied the accusations, but in a second interview, after being presented with forensic evidence that showed items had been triple deleted, “Gretes admitted that he did not tell the truth in his original testimony and that he did triple delete emails.”

“I cannot overstate the gravity with which I view the false testimony given during this investigation by George Gretes,” Denham says in the report.

Systematic deletion

Denham also expressed disbelief at the results of an investigation into allegations that emails were being systematically deleted in the office of the premier.

The issue centres around the retention of so-called non-transitory records. According to the report, those include “decision records, instructions and advice, as well as documentation of a policy matter or how a case was managed.”

Transitory records are “convenience copies, unnecessary duplicates and working materials and drafts once the finished record has been produced.”

But according to the report, the deputy chief of staff in the premier’s office “has not personally retained a single email she has ever sent from her government email address.”

Cadario claimed “very few” of the emails she sends are non-transitory because she doesn’t create government policy or give policy advice. But Denham notes that Cadario’s job description included providing “strategic advice to the chief of staff, premier and executive council to advance government’s policy and legislative objectives.”

Denham recommended mandatory records-management training for all employees as well as the legislation of independent oversight of information management requirements. She also says the government needs to introduce sanctions when those requirements are not met.

DOC

[CLICK TO OPEN]

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/highway-of-tears-email-deletion-referred-to-rcmp-by-b-c-privacy-watchdog-1.3284029

These 5 Serial Killers Have Never Been Caught, And They Could Be In A Town Near You

these-5-serial-killers-have-never-been-caught-and-they-could-be-in-a-town-near-you-391845

WARNING: The following information may be triggering to survivors.

by Sam Warrington

These 5 Serial Killers Have Never Been Caught, And They Could Be In A Town Near You 

When we think about serial killers we think about the depraved and horrific acts they performed on people. But, even more than that, we like to think they have been caught and are no longer able to hurt members of the public.

But what if there are serial killers still on the loose? Another Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer that are on a killing spree and haven’t been caught?

These killers get to keep on finding and tracking down their next victim, free to satisfy their blood lust, without the police having a clue.

Here are five bone chilling cases of brutal serial murders that have been carried out, but those responsible have never been caught. And they could kill again.

5. The Jennings Murders. 8 Victims

photographs of victims

photographs of victims

In a small town called Jennings Louisiana the bodies of 8 young women were found between the years 2005-2009, leaving the small town wondering, who in their community could be evil enough to commit murder.

Found discarded by roadsides and half immersed in canals, the bodies had been thrown away as if they meant nothing.

The act of a serial killer? Possibly, but factually serial killers tend to pick victims that have no connection to them. All of these 8 women knew each other personally, some were even cousins, and all were involved with drugs and prostitution.

Police corruption has been linked to the unsolved crimes, many saying it might have been a police officer that committed the murders.

marked grave of victim Crystal Zeno

marked grave of victim Crystal Zeno

Eerily enough a few of the girls had the feeling they were going to be killed, and had spoken out to family members.

In her final days, one of the eight named Necole Guillory told her mother not to prepare her a birthday cake because she wouldn’t be alive to eat it. She had also placed her four children with family members and warned her mother that she wouldn’t tell her any information on who was making her so paranoid because she wanted to keep her safe.

Fifth victim Laconia “Muggy” Brown told her sister she was helping a cop to solve a murder, and he had offered her money for information. She also ended up dead not long after.

So could it be a serial killer, murdering accessible young women for fun? Or could it be the young girls knew too much about a corrupt police state, and their killer was actually someone in a position of trust that was meant to protect them?

4. The Long Island Killer. 10 or more victims

To understand the case of the Long Island killer, you have to look at his last known possible victim, Shannon Gilbert. An escort, she had gone to visit a client in the area in December 2010. Her driver who accompanied her to her jobs drove her to the clients address in the early hours of the morning.

Shannon Gilbert

Shannon Gilbert

While in this clients house something happened to terrify her, she even made a frantic call to 911, and ran out of the house, running to a neighbor and banging on the door at around 5am. This neighbor also called police and said Shannon was hidden under a boat he owned, and that she seemed terrified. He also told police he saw a man driving a black SUV and that the man driving the car, was probably who Shannon was trying to escape from.

description of Long Island Killer

description of Long Island Killer

And then, she vanished. Her family begged police to search for her, and when they began to search the area, no-one was prepared for the horrors they would find in the sands on Gilgo beach.

police searching for remains

police searching for remains

The bodies of four missing escorts, all of which had advertised themselves on Craigslist, were found in December 2010. The media dubbed the serial killer ‘The Craigslist Ripper’.

victims of the long island killer

victims of the long island killer

Six more bodies were found in March and April 2011, police say these victims actually predated the previous four found, and they were most likely to have been killed by the same person, now named ‘The Long beach Killer’.

Only one victim was formally identified out of the six as Jessica Taylor, who had been severely mutilated and dismembered.

Shannon’s remains were found in 2011, but police say her death was not linked to the other victims, but that the search for her lead them to discover the other bodies.

Who is the mystery killer? There are ten victims that police have linked together as his victims, but since the gruesome discoveries there have been at least another six murders that police believe could be linked to the Long Island Killer.

So it looks like he remains active, at large, and still has murder on his mind.

3. West Mesa Murders. 12 victims

shrine to murder victims

shrine to murder victims

A woman was out walking her dog in 2009 when she saw something she thought looked suspicious sticking out of the ground in West Mesa, Albuquerque, New Mexico. She rang police who discovered it was a human bone.

After further investigation, the area contained the remains of 11 women and 1 fetus. All had been murdered and buried in shallow graves. All the women had gone missing between 2002-2005, but were not discovered until four years later.

The makeshift graveyard meant the serial killer was given the name ‘The Bone Collector”.

Chillingly, in December 2010 police released pictures they had received of other women they wished to identify who could have been linked to the West Mesa killer. The women appeared to be unconscious in the photographs and the police refused to divulge where the pictures had come from.

one picture given to police

one picture given to police

Were the photographs handed to them by the killer? Was he playing a game of cat and mouse? Police in the area have been reluctant to say if the killer is in prison for another crime, dead or still at large. So which is it? I bet all the people of New Mexico are praying for anything but the latter.

2. Smiley Face Killer. 200+ victims

smiley face found at one scene

smiley face found at one scene

Due to the sheer amount of victims, many are skeptical that the Smiley face killer exists, and think of it as an urban legend.

But, the horrifying truth is that young men from all over the USA have all died in the same circumstances. Leading some experts to believe there isn’t just one killer, but a gang of killers all working together to commit murder.

Two retired police officers wouldn’t believe that over 200 young men, none of which were known to be suicidal, all popular, enjoyed sports, good at school, could all just die by accidental drowning.

They believe they can link at least 40 drownings in 25 cities in 10 separate states in America.

Further investigation has now proved that many of the scenes could be linked, by a drawing of a small smiley face left somewhere near where some of the young men’s bodies were found.

The killers also left clues as to where next victims could be found. The word ‘Sinsinawa’ was found written on a wall near to where one mans body had been washed up. Weeks later, another unfortunate young man’s body was found, hundreds of miles away. The police believed the young man had been out into the water at Sinsinawa Ave.

potential clue?

potential clue?

So why has the killer been leaving these subtle clues? And will the police ever catch up to the killer, or killers? Drowning makes it almost impossible as evidence gets washed away, and the body moves away from the area it entered the water, also meaning evidence gets lost. So it remains a mystery.

A mystery that has claimed the lives of over 200 young men so far.

1. Highway Serial Killer. 450+ victims

map of highway murder victims

map of highway murder victims

Each red dot on the picture is sadly a victim of ‘The Highway Serial Killer’, and the numbers are growing. The FBI has stated that this isn’t just one killer, but a network of killers who use the highways to murder and run.

The profile of the murderers tends to be truck drivers, or people who need to use the highway frequently due to their job. This means they don’t stay in one place for too long. Which makes the killers harder to track.

Most of the victims have high risk lifestyles, such as prostitution and drug use, which means they are less likely to have a fixed place to live, making it harder for people to realize they are missing. They also move around a lot, and with less stability, sadly, it is easier for someone to fall of the radar more easily.

One highway in-particular gained notoriety for the amount of victims, and was named the ‘highway of tears.’

A 500 mile stretch of road along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada has been the place where 16 women have been murdered between 1969-2006, and that’s only counting the victims that were found. Up to 43 families have claimed they have lost a family member along that strip of road.

Police have suspects, but are doubtful they will ever be able to convict the killers of each of the women.

victims and where they were found

victims and where they were found

Police and local people strongly suggest not to hitch-hike, you can never be sure who’s car you might be getting into.

And if you live in any of these towns or cities, or even if you don’t, always remember to take extra precautions to keep yourself safe, always let a person you trust know where you are at all times. NEVER walk in dimly lit areas and carry a mobile phone to ring the police if you find yourself in an emergency situation.

Do You Know Of Any Terrifying Murder Cases People Should Have Information About?

by Sam Warrington Posted on May 6th, 2015

http://these-5-serial-killers-have-never-been-caught-and-they-could-be-in-a-town-near-you

Emails Relating To B.C.’s Highway Of Tears Allegedly Deleted

These images are of 18 women and girls whose deaths and disappearances are part of the RCMP's investigation of the Highway of Tears in British Columbia. (Individual photos from Highwayoftears.ca)

These images are of 18 women and girls whose deaths and disappearances are part of the RCMP’s investigation of the Highway of Tears in British Columbia. (Individual photos from Highwayoftears.ca)

CBC News

‘Whatever it takes to win,’ Liberal staffer allegedly said after deleting emails in FOI request

A former staffer at the B.C. Ministry of Transportation alleges that more than a dozen emails were deleted in November 2014 following a freedom of information request relating to the Highway of Tears, a stretch of road notorious for cases of missing and murdered women.

The NDP has made public a letter written by former executive assistant Tim Duncan to Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham. In the letter, Duncan says that when he protested an instruction to delete the emails, a ministerial assistant took hold of his keyboard and did it himself.

“When I hesitated, he took away my keyboard, deleted the emails and returned the keyboard, stating, ‘It’s done. Now you don’t have to worry about it anymore,'” Duncan wrote in the letter.

When his concerns continued to be dismissed, Duncan writes, he was told, “It’s like The West Wing. You do whatever it takes to win.”

Duncan writes that he does not believe the incident was unusual.

“I want to stress that this is not an isolated incident. It is my belief that the abuse of the freedom of information process is widespread and most likely systemic within the [Premier Christy] Clark government. I would ask that you please look into this further.”

As to the content of the deleted emails, Duncan says that he does not recall details, as many were messages he was cc’d on and had never read.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone told CBC News that he knew nothing of the allegations made by his former staffer until they were raised in Thursday’s question period.

‘Are there no records?’

Jennifer Rice, the NDP member of the legislature for the North Coast, spoke to CBC’s Daybreak North in February about a freedom of information request she made last November while looking for information surrounding meetings that were supposed to have taken place about Highway 16 (the Highway of Tears)

Rice had specifically requested “records related to meetings held by the ministry on this issue. The time frame for my request is May 15, 2014, to November 19, 2014.”

The government, she said, asked for an extension on the request, twice, in order to transcribe written notes.

When the government eventually responded in November, Rice was told, “No records were located in response to your request. Your file is now closed.”

“Are there records that have been hidden?” Rice asked. “Or are there no records?”

‘A symptom of sick government’

The privacy commissioner responded Thursday with a statement confirming the receipt of Duncan’s letter.

“My office has been in touch with the individual who raised these allegations, and I am now determining next steps in an investigation,” Denham’s statement reads.

John Horgan, leader of the B.C. NDP says the accusations are “shocking,” and a “symptom of sick government.”

“The letter says it all about how Christy Clark’s government approaches its responsibilities to the people of B.C.,” Horgan said in a statement, “‘You do whatever it takes to win.’ Even when it involves missing and murdered women.”

RCMP say the route along Highway 16 that winds between Prince George and Prince Rupert is where at least 18 women have gone missing or been murdered since 1969. Seventeen of those cases remain unsolved.

Read the full letter

Letter

With files from Richard Zussman

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/emails-relating-to-b-c-s-highway-of-tears-allegedly-deleted-1.3091592