The RCMP cracked the Highway of Tears cases of missing and murdered women in B.C. because they carefully preserved a DNA sample in the ‘70s – without knowing how important DNA testing would become in later decades, reveals U.S. TV show, "48 Hours."

In an episode to be aired on Saturday, the award-winning investigative series focuses on the 18 women who have been killed or disappeared along highways in northern and central B.C. since 1969.

CBS News producer Paul LaRosa said the TV crew tried to bring across the dichotomy between the beautiful landscape and the pain suffered by the victims’ families, CBC News reported.

The "48 Hours" documentary was granted unprecedented access to the investigation by the RCMP and a special task force that was created in 2005 to go over the cases that stretched over four decades.

Story continues after gallery:

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  • Colleen MacMillen

    Age: 16 Last Seen: Aug. 9, 1974 near Lac La Hache. Body found Sept. 5, 1974 near 100 Mile House. Was believed to be hitchhiking. RCMP have determined through DNA testing that Bobby Jack Fowler was responsible for her death.

  • Gale Ann Weys

    Age: 19 Last Seen: Oct. 19, 1973 in Clearwater. Body found April 6, 1974 along Yellowhead Highway. Believed hitchhiking to Kamloops.

  • Pamela Darlington

    Age: 19 Last Seen: Nov. 6, 1973 in Kamloops. Body found Nov. 7, 1973 in a city park. Believed to be hitchhiking at the time.

  • Delphine Nikkal

    Age: 16 Last Seen: June 14, 1990, along Highway 16 in Smithers.

  • Lana Derrick

    Age: 19 Last Seen: October 7, 1995 at a service station in Thornhill, B.C.

  • Nicole Hoar

    Age: 25 Last Seen: June 21, 2002 in Prince George. Believed to be hitchhiking on Highway 16.

  • Tamara Chipman

    Age: 22 Last Seen: Sept. 21, 2005 in Prince Rupert. Believed to be hitchhiking on Highway 16.

  • Alberta Williams

    Age: 24 Last Seen: Aug. 26, 1989 in Prince Rupert. Body found Sept. 16, 1989 on Highway 16.

  • Ramona Wilson

    Age: 16 Last Seen: June 11, 1994, hitchhiking to a friend's home in Smithers. Body found April 1995, Smithers Airport.

  • Roxanne Thiara

    Age: 15 Last Seen: Nov. 1994 in Prince George. Body found near Burns Lake.

  • Leah Alisha Germaine

    Age: 15 Her body was found Dec. 9, 1994.

  • Cecilia Anne Nikal

    Last Seen: 1989

  • Monica Ignas

    Age: 14 Last Seen: Dec. 13, 1974 in Thornhill, B.C. Body found Apr. 6, 1975 near Terrace.

  • Aielah Saric Auger

    Age: 14 Last Seen: Feb. 2, 2006 in Prince George. Body found Feb. 10, 2006 on Highway 16.

  • Gloria Moody

    Age: 27 Last Seen: Oct. 25, 1969 in Williams Lake. Body found Oct. 26 1969.

  • Micheline Pare

    Age: 18 Last Seen: July 1970 along Fort St. John/Hudson's Hope Highway. Body found Aug. 8, 1970 near Hudson's Hope. Last seen hitchhiking to a ranch.

  • Shelly Ann Bascu

    Age: 16 Last Seen: May 3, 1983 near Hinton, Alberta. Seen walking along Highway 16.

  • Monica Jack

    Age: 12 Last Seen: May 6, 1978 near Nicola Lake. Body found in June 1995 north of Merritt.

  • Maureen Mosie

    Age: 33 Last Seen: May 8, 1981 in Salmon Arm. Body found May 9, 1981 near Kamloops. Believed to have been hitchhiking.

Key to their case was DNA found on Colleen MacMillen’s blouse when her body was found dumped off a logging road in 1974.

This year, forensic investigators were able to enhance that DNA sample and send it to Interpol – which came back with a positive match from a U.S. database.

In September, the RCMP announced that the sample belonged to a transient roofer named Bobby Jack Fowler, with a violent history of sexual attacks in the U.S. They announced that in addition to MacMillen’s death, Fowler likely also killed Pamela Darlington and Gale Weys. Both of the 19-year-olds were found dead in 1973.

"48 Hours," which is in its 25th year, reports that with this fresh information, police in Oregon are currently looking at Fowler as a suspect in seven murders in the U.S.

The show says police believe Fowler may have killed as many as 20 people in the U.S. and Canada. Fowler died in an Oregon jail of natural causes in May 2006 at the age of 66.

The documentary airs on CBS Saturday at 10 p.m. PT.

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  • 1972

    RCMP hope photos of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/25/bobby-jack-fowler-highway-of-tears-killer-bc_n_1913693.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-british-columbia">killer Bobby Jack Fowler</a> will help jog people's memories in helping them track his movements in B.C. from the '70s to the '90s.

  • 1982

    RCMP hope photos of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/25/bobby-jack-fowler-highway-of-tears-killer-bc_n_1913693.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-british-columbia">killer Bobby Jack Fowler</a> will help jog people's memories in helping them track his movements in B.C. from the '70s to the '90s.

  • 1989

    RCMP hope photos of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/25/bobby-jack-fowler-highway-of-tears-killer-bc_n_1913693.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-british-columbia">killer Bobby Jack Fowler</a> will help jog people's memories in helping them track his movements in B.C. from the '70s to the '90s.

  • 1994

    RCMP hope photos of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/25/bobby-jack-fowler-highway-of-tears-killer-bc_n_1913693.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-british-columbia">killer Bobby Jack Fowler</a> will help jog people's memories in helping them track his movements in B.C. from the '70s to the '90s.

  • 1995

    RCMP hope photos of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/25/bobby-jack-fowler-highway-of-tears-killer-bc_n_1913693.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-british-columbia">killer Bobby Jack Fowler</a> will help jog people's memories in helping them track his movements in B.C. from the '70s to the '90s.

  • Date unknown

    RCMP hope photos of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/25/bobby-jack-fowler-highway-of-tears-killer-bc_n_1913693.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-british-columbia">killer Bobby Jack Fowler</a> will help jog people's memories in helping them track his movements in B.C. from the '70s to the '90s.

  • <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/25/bobby-jack-fowler-highway-of-tears-killer-bc_n_1913693.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-british-columbia">Killer Bobby Jack Fowler</a> drove old cars, possibly similar to one in this image, said RCMP.



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