Are Kamloops and area murders linked to deceased American suspect?
B.C. Mounties are poised to announce "a significant development" in the investigation into 18 missing and murdered women in the province - and there appears to be a Kamloops connection to one or all three of the slain women on the list of unsolved murders.
Mounties will be hosting a news conference at 11:15 a.m.on Tuesday, Sept. 25, in Surrey, followed by media availability in Kamloops and Prince George on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
The development is in regards to a task force dubbed "E-Pana" by RCMP.
E-Pana, a joint effort between the RCMP and the Vancouver Police Department, was established in 2006 looking into missing and murdered women in the north and central regions of B.C. — including the so-called Highway of Tears, which includes highways 16, 5 and 97.
The email said no further details would be provided ahead of tomorrow's press conference, but that "police will also be issuing a plea for assistance from British Columbians, Canadians and Americans."
However, according to the CBC, the RCMP will announce that DNA has connected a now-deceased U.S. man to the 1974 murder of Colleen MacMillen, one of the victims included in the Highway of Tears list of slayings.
CBC is reporting that DNA links Bobby Jack Fowle of Oregon to the killing of 16-year-old MacMillen. In 2006, Fowler died in prison, but was also a suspect in five unsolved murders of teenage girls in Oregon between 1984 and 1995.
Three women who were killed in or near Kamloops are included in the Highway of Tears roster of victims.
Pamela Darlington was 19 when her whose body was found partially clothed in the Thompson River at Pioneer Park in Kamloops on Nov. 7, 1973. She was severely beaten and the killer left bite marks on her skin. At dinnertime the previous night, Darlington finished her shift at Gondola Pizza, where she had started working four days previously, earlier, and returned to her apartment with her two roommates.
At 9:30 p.m. Darlington hitchhiked alone to the David Thompson pub and was last seen at about 11 p.m. walking to the back of the pub with a man described as standing five-feet, 10 inches tall, with scruffy blond hair almost to his shoulders.
Gale Weys was also 19 when she was living in Kamloops, but working ina gas station in Clearwater. On Oct. 19, 1973, Weys tried to hitchhike home to Kamloops, but she never arrived. Her naked body was found a few miles south of Clearwater on April 6, 1974.
Maureen Mosie, 33, was thought to be hitchhiking when she was last seen on May 8, 1981, in Salmon Arm. Her body was found on May 9, 198, near the crossroads of highways 1 and 97 about 16 kilometres east of Kamloops.
In addition, a Merritt murder victim is on the Highway of Tears list, though her murder has peviously been possibly linked to a suspect in a pair of unsolved child killings in Abbotsford in the 1970s.
Monica Jack, 12, vanished in May 1978 while riding her bike home along Nicola Lake near Merritt. Her remains were found on nearby Swakum Mountain in June 1995.
In 2000, officers investigating two cold-case murders in Abbotsford confirmed to the Abbotsford News the name of a suspect they believed may also have killed Jack.
The similarities in the murders, combined with the suspect’s criminal record — which included multiple rape convictions — left police thinking they had the right guy.
But, unable to prove anything, the suspect, in his 50s, was left to walk free and was last reported to be living in Ontario.
Meanwhile, the Abbotsford murders of Kathryn Mary Herbert (11 years old when murdered in 1975), Theresa Hildebrandt (15 years old when slain in 1976) and Jack remain unsolved, although their remains have since been recovered.