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OCTOBER 2012

David Gogo set to perform in Prince George B1

Big North FREE PRESS

■ HIGHWAY OF TEARS

Did you know Bobby Fowler? DELYNDA PILON newsroom@pgfreepress.com

After almost 40 years at least one of the Highways of Tears murders has been solved. Colleen Macmillan was 16 years old in 1973 when she made plans to hitch-hike from her home in Lac la Hache to the home of a friend. No one saw her alive again after she left her home. Instead her body was found about 46 km south of where she was last seen. Decades later, in 2006, as forensic science became a more precise tool, evidence collected at the scene was sent to a lab. There the DNA of an unknown male was discovered, however no match for that male was Undated photo found in the data of Bobby Jack base. In 2012 samFowler ples of the DNA were sent to Interpol. They got a hit. In May of 2012 CODIS matched the DNA to an American, Bobby Jack Fowler. Fowler, who died of natural causes in an American prison in May of 2006 at the age of 66, had an extensive violent criminal history including attempted murder, sexual assault, arson, kidnapping and attempted sexual assault. “Since we got the hit investigators have been pursuing Fowler’s movements over his lifetime,” Inspector Gary Shinkaruk with E-PANA said. They spoke to family members, associates and former cellmates among others to determine with certainty where Fowler

travelled and when. A transient, it has been determined that Fowler lived in Prince George in 1974. He worked for Happy’s Roofing, which is now out of business, its records destroyed in a flood. Police are asking for the public’s help in filling in the blanks of Fowler’s life. They say he stayed in and lived in hotels, liked old cars and drove them till they quit, and frequented bars. “We believe there are people out there who employed Fowler and socialized with him. We want the public’s help,” he said, adding Fowler worked as a roofer and labourer. Police believe there are other victims of Fowler, people he may have assaulted who survived. Fowler is suspected in at least two more of the 18 Highway of Tears murders or disappearances E-PANA was created to investigate. The two women are Gale Weys, who went missing Oct. 19, 1973 and whose body was found six months later, and Pamela Darlington who was murdered Nov. 6, 1973. Though Fowler has been eliminated as a suspect in eight of the files, he remains someone to look at in the other cases. At the same time, Oregon suspects Fowler of at least four murders and is conducting an investigation as well. The public is being asked to share any bit of information they have on Fowler, no

matter how insignificant it might seem. People can call the E-PANA tip hotline

at 1-877-543-4822 or their local CrimeStoppers.

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BIG NORTH FREE PRESS - OCTOBER 2012

RCMP issue plea for help DELYNDA PILON newsroom@pgfreepress.com

Bobby Jack Fowler murdered 16-year-old Colleen MacMillen, a girl whose name was listed among the 13 unsolved homicide victims the E-PANA task force was formed to investigate. Named among the Highway of Tears victims, MacMillen, who lived in Lac la Hache, planned to hitchhike to a friend’s house on Aug. 9, 1974. She walked up to Highway 97, and was never seen alive again. Her body was found 46 kilometres south by a logging road. With the expanding precision of forensic science, DNA evidence, preserved over the years by the RCMP, was tested in 2012. A hit with CODIS proved that Fowler, who DeLynda PILON/ Fre e Pre s s died in an Oregon prison Staff Sgt. Wayne Clary (left) and Insp. Gary Shinkaruk speak at a press conference in in 2006, was responsible Prince George Wednesday. for her murder. Though he has been eliminated in eight of labourer and roofer who took odd jobs, he the 13 homicides and five missing women cases worked for a time for Happy’s Roofing in 1974. Police are asking anyone who worked with or E-PANA is investigating, officers believe he may 5 be responsible for other murders, in particular had contact with Fowler at any time to contact RUN • SK the murders of 19-year-old Gale Weys, who was them. Tracking Fowler’s movements is important to last seen hitchhiking from Clearwater on Oct. 16, 1973 and whose body was found six months the investigation. Shinkaruk said within the timelater, and 19-year-old Kamloops resident Pamela line they have, when they can pinpoint exactly Darlington, whose body was found in Pioneer where Fowler was and when he was there, there are cases of girls gone missing and murdered. Park on Nov. 7, 1973. “There are many unsolved killings of young He also remains a suspect in the murder of Ramona Wilson, who was last seen alive in June girls everywhere he went,” he said. Fowler was convicted in Newport, Oregon for of 1994. Her body was found in April 1995. Wilson’s family, including her mother, attended a 1995 violent attack against a woman. He served a press conference in Prince George held by 10 years of that sentence before dying of natural E-PANA investigators on Wednesday. Her causes in prison. His final conviction was the last of several, daughter stood and asked whether Ramona was one of the eight murders Fowler was eliminated including one in 1970 for killing a man in Texas during a vicious assault. from as a suspect. “We believe continually, throughout his life, “Ramona has not been eliminated,” Insp. Gary Shinkaruk, officer in charge of B.C. RCMP major Fowler committed violent crimes on men and crime special projects unit, said. “We are looking women.” Police also believe there will be unreported at Fowler with Ramona’s case in mind.” A violent man who bounced in and out of cases involving Fowler. Fowler, a transient, liked old cars that he drove American prisons for a variety of crimes, Fowler lived in the Prince George area at times. A until they quit. At one time he drove a white ‘61

Chrysler. A car matching that description was seen in the area during the time Pamela Darlington was murdered. Living in motels or renting, Fowler frequented restaurants and bars where he was violent towards men and women alike. He enjoyed picking up hitchhikers. Police are are asking the public to help them gather information on Fowler. “We believe there are people out there who employed Fowler, worked with him, socialized with him or even waited on him while he was in British Columbia. We are asking you to think back to the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s at your own memories of that time period, then have a look at his photos, and please call us with any information you have about him,” Shinkaruk said. The E-PANA tip line can be reached at 1-877543-4822, or call your local CrimeStoppers. “We are optimistic someone knew him,” Shinkaruk said.

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BIG NORTH FREE PRESS - OCTOBER 2012

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P.I. says more investigation needed DELYNDA PILON newsroom@pgfreepress.com

Ray Michalko with Valley Pacific Investigations is a former RCMP officer who has dedicated years to investigating the Highway of Tears murders and disappearances, and despite the E-PANA announcement that at least one murder has been solved, he knows there is still a great deal of work to be done. The first time he heard the name Bobby Jack Fowler was when E-PANA announced last week that the murder of 16-year-old Colleen MacMillen in 1974 was finally solved. Though Fowler has been eliminated as a suspect in eight of the 18 cases E-PANA is investigating, 19

he remains a suspect in some of the remaining files, in particular the murders of 19-year-old Gale Weyes (Clearwater, B.C.) in 1973 and 19-year-old Pamela Darlington (Kamloops, B. C.) also in 1973. In the United States, Fowler is a suspect in the murders of Shelia Swanson, 19, and Melissa Sanders, 17, in Oregon in 1992 and Jennifer Esson, 16, and Kara Leas, 16, in Oregon in 1995. Fowler died of lung cancer while in prison, serving a 16-year sentence for rape, kidnapping and attempted rape for a crime that happened in 1995. “I never heard of him until the press release,” Michalko said. “I hope this gives the families some hope that there’s a possibility of

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something being done with some of their cases, but I think the announcement has caused a lot of anxiety and brought up old feelings for the families as well.” Michalko, like the investigators working for E-PANA, believe the murders along the Highway of Tears were committed by more than one killer. Michalko added it will be very hard to tie Fowler to any more of the murders. “Everyone needs to step back and take a breath. They figured out Fowler was responsible for one of the victims because of DNA. If they had other DNA they could link to him they would have probably said that,” Michalko said. “The chances of linking him to another victim now are

probably nil, unless someone comes forward as a witness who saw a crime, or who was an accomplice. “I think you can insinuate Fowler did a lot of things here, but finding the proof of that is going to be next to impossible. I think this is good and it certainly brings closure to one family but I don’t see it going any further.” However, he added, there is still hope for closure for other families. “The only reason they were able to link Fowler with DNA is advancements with DNA. So there could be other DNA they have but the system can’t analyze it yet, and there could be improvements that way. I think the discouraging thing with families is if your victim doesn’t fall under that

serial killer net you have to be concerned about the the police doing anything about that case.” Michalko added that, technically, the MacMillen’s case does not fall under a Highway of Tears murder. “With the Highway of Tears there are nine victims, inclusive of what they (E-PANA) have. E-PANA added nine in 2007, so the one they solved isn’t a Highway of Tears case, but it is one they were working on.” Finding answers to more of the Highway of Tears murders means looking into the communities along the route, Michalko said. “I think the answer still lays in some of those communities that lie along Highway 16.”

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Economist disputes pipeline benefit DELYNDA PILON newsroom@pgfreepress.com

Consumers could be paying two cents more per litre at the pumps every year for 30 years if the Northern Gateway Alliance pipeline goes through, according to one of the country’s leading economists. “My analysis is based on their models,” Robyn Allan, an economist and the former head of ICBC, said during a stop in Prince George last week. Allan said she began taking a deeper look into the pipeline project about a year ago after her son asked her opinion on it. What she found led her to conclude that, environmental factors aside, it just doesn’t make sense economically for the residents of B.C. She said the rising costs at the pumps won’t be the only increase consumers will see. Every industry that uses gas and oil to transport goods will have to raise costs to keep up, and that expense will be passed onto the paying public. And in the Prairies, where 40 per cent of Economist Robyn Allan says the the gas and oil consumed Gateway Project don’t add up. is used to produce agrioil,” she said. cultural products, there Her analysis was based on will be significant increases. “So what will that do to our the work Enbridge provided, however she called into quesexport industry?” Allan asked. Allan visited Prince George tion the models the company last week to talk about the eco- used. She said they are based nomic impact of the Enbridge on the Canadian dollar sitting pipeline on the province, shar- at 85 cents American, meaning ing her findings during an open the equations automatically get lecture at the university. The a 20 per cent increase in benweek prior to that she gave evi- efits. “But when the Canadian dence on the economics of the project before the joint review dollar is up, the oil industry suffers,” she said, adding the panel in Edmonton. Allan said Enbridge has commodity is sold in American stated they will not be drawing dollars. Other questions should be more oil from the oilsands to sell to Asia. Rather they will be asked of the industry, she said, harvesting the same amount of like the viability of building oil and redirecting the product a pipeline so the oil in western Canada can benefit eastern into the Asian marketplace. “When you restrict the sup- Canada. Another question revolves ply, you increase the price of

Bill PHILLIPS/Free Press

economics of the Northern around upgrading the bitumen in Alberta. Bitumen must be mixed with dilutent in order for it to move through the pipeline. Essentially, Allan said, this means shipping through two pipelines, one shipping in the dilutent to be mixed with the bitumen, and the other shipping out the diluted product. Dilutent is expensive and something Canada has to import. Thirty per cent of the end mix is dilutent, she said. The dilbit, or mixed product, is then shipped to China and upgraded in their refineries, which are heavily subsidized. Allan said many people have noted it isn’t economically feasible to build a refinery in Canada, and she said that is because

they are not subsidized in the way they are in China, a country that has a built in set of price controls to protect its own consumers. Canadians have no such protection at the pumps. Also, bitumen is heavy and sinks during an oil spill. The dilbit is light and vaporizes poison into the air. She pointed out the difficulty Enbridge Energy Partners had dealing with the oil spill in Kalamazoo. There was a leak for 17 hours before anyone knew it was happening. In effect, Allan said, what began as a small spill became the largest on-land spill in North American history, costing $800 million to clean up and likely to cost more in fines and restoration. Enbridge, however, was not liable for this though the partnership in Kalamazoo was. Likewise, the Northern Gateway, also a partnership under the Enbridge umbrella, would be responsible for any mishaps in B.C. not the parent company. “Enbridge will not stand by Northern Gateway,” Allan said. “And if the pipeline is down there is no way they can cover the cost of a spill.” She added the alliance should have a billion minimum in insurance, however it is suggesting $250 million will suffice, meaning the cost of such a spill could wind up being born by the people of B.C. Allan said the idea of the pipe-

line is being sold as an exchange - a certain amount of environmental danger compared to a large economic benefit. However, she said, since the promised economic benefit has little substance, it doesn’t have to be that way. “We’ve been told there are huge benefits, so we must trade-off the environmental risk. There doesn’t have to be this trade-off. We don’t have to make that choice.” She added B.C. should never have opted out of the environmental review process. Since that happened she pointed out Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who makes no bones about the federal government’s support of the project, has loosened the regulations governing portions of the process. “We have to do our own environmental review and it has to have have some teeth in it. B.C. has to take back it’s sovereignty, it’s right to decide.” Denying a project like the Northern Gateway pipeline won’t leave the oil industry in distress, Allan said. Allan said the industry is prospering. The pipeline will allow them to increase profits and open Asian markets to their product, however not building the pipeline will not damage the oil and gas sector. In fact, Allan said, it may force them into exploring other options that would be more beneficial to Canadians.

15

Pipeline ‘in the Canadian national interest:’ Enbridge The Northern Gateway pipeline project is “clearly in the Canadian national interest,” according to Enbridge’s opening statement at the Edmonton hearings for the project. With those hearings now wrapping up, the focus will turn to Prince George, startingTuesday, October 9. At Prince George, Northern Gateway will present three witness panels. They will answer questions as to how the pipeline component of the project will be designed and constructed, address environmental and socio-economic effects of the project, and how the pipeline will be operated and also address spill preparedness, response and effects of accidents and malfunctions. “We believe that at the end of the proceeding you will conclude that the concerns expressed to you by Canadians to date, and particularly

by those living in British Columbia, can be addressed in a reasonable and responsible way,” Enbridge officials told the hearing. “We believe that our project presents a tremendous opportunity for our country. What is required is an approval that will allow development of the project while facilitating an ongoing and continuous process for addressing remaining concerns as the project proceeds. In answering questions that are posed to them, Northern Gateway’s witness panels will focus on identifying a constructive path forward, and one that will benefit all of Canada.” The hearings in Prince George will be held at the Columbus Community Centre on Domano Boulevard and run until October 19. They will resume at the Ramada Inn October 29 to November 9.

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Section X of the October 10, 2012 edition of the Prince George Free Press

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