Large numbers of women started disappearing off the streets of Vancouver in the 1980s. But they were mainly prostitutes, drug addicts or aboriginal women who operated in Downtown Eastside, ‘Canada’s poorest postcode.’ With no public pressure, and without any bodies to start a murder case, the police refused for years to treat the women as anything but missing, let alone connect them to becoming prey to a single predator.
But then an aboriginal group provided a list of missing women to the police and Detective Dave Dickson officially started an investigation in 1998. The first Vancouver policeman to suspect a serial killer was at work was Kim Rossmo. He would later become a criminology professor and originator of ‘geographic profiling’. He speculated that the killer was deliberately targeting women who would be ‘invisible’ to the authorities. Even when the police realised they had a serial killer, and that Pickton was a suspect, he was not placed under surveillance.