Families of Serial Killer’s Victims Sue Police

     VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – Families of women believed to have been murdered by serial killer Robert Pickton sued Vancouver and British Columbia, claiming police botched a 1997 investigation, allowing the pig farmer to keep killing for five more years.
     Family members of missing women filed four separate complaints in B.C. Supreme Court, suing British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, Pickton’s brother and sister David Pickton and Linda Wright, and four members of the Coquitlam detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
     In one complaint, plaintiffs Melissa Marin, Carol Cote and Donald Cote claim that their mother’s DNA was found on Pickton’s pig farm, but murder charges from her death were stayed after Pickton was convicted of six murders; he was accused of killing at least 27 women.
     The three siblings claim their mother, Dianne Rock, struggled with addiction and was seeking treatment before she died. She turned to prostitution to support her addiction, and was last seen in October 2001, according to the complaint.
     “Had she not been killed, it is probable that Dianne would have recovered from her addiction, as she was on sick leave from work and was actively seeking treatment for her addiction when she disappeared,” the complaint states.
     At least 67 women disappeared from the streets of Vancouver between 1978 and 2002, a phenomenon the plaintiffs claim was improperly investigated by the Vancouver Police Department and R.C.M.P.
     The complaint states that Pickton was charged in 1997 with attempted murder, assault with a weapon, unlawful confinement and aggravated assault, for an attack on a Vancouver sex worker, but the charges were stayed.
     Both the R.C.M.P. and the Vancouver Police Department knew that Pickton posed a danger to sex workers, but failed to warn people despite police analyses and information trickling in from informants pointing to Pickton as a suspect, the family says.
     The plaintiffs claim that Pickton’s brother and sister were aware that their brother brought sex workers home and hurt them, but failed to warn people of the danger.
     “David Pickton and Linda Wright knew that Robert Pickton and others tortured and killed sex workers and other persons at the Pickton Property, and were aware that the actions and propensities of Robert Pickton represented a danger to persons attending the Pickton Property,” the complaint states.
     Defendant David Pickton lied to police who were investigating the 1997 attack, the family claims.
     Marissa Marin claims she learned of her mother’s death on April 1, 2002 in a phone conversation with an unnamed police detective. Marin claims she initially believed it was an April fool’s joke, but the short call ended and the news media reported Pickton’s charges the next day.
     Marin’s brother and sister were not contacted by police and learned of their mother’s death from their sister.
     Subsequent contacts with police further traumatized the plaintiffs, when they were shown crime scene photos and told that their mother’s personal effects, seized during the investigation, were lost, the family says.
     They seek general, aggravated, and punitive damages for gross negligence.
     They are represented by Jason Gratl of Gratl Purtzki in Vancouver.

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