BRITISH COLUMBIA

Bobby Jack Fowler Highway Of Tears Case Has Stalled, Say RCMP

09/25/2013 04:30 EDT | Updated 11/25/2013 05:12 EST
AP
Bobby Jack Fowler is shown in this 1995 booking photo taken in Newport, Ore.,provided by the Lincoln County Sheriff's office. An Oregon prosecutor says officers are looking at Fowler who died in prison six years ago in the killings of four teenage girls along the Oregon coast in the 1990s.(AP Photo/Lincoln County Sheriff, ho)
KAMLOOPS, B.C. - The investigation into several cold-case murders of woman along B.C.'s so-called Highway of Tears appears to have stalled, leading a spokeswoman for the family of one missing woman to speak out in frustration.

Mounties announced a year ago that Bobby Jack Fowler, who died in an Oregon jail in 2006, was responsible for one of the murders along the highway and a suspect in others.

DNA from Fowler was matched to the 1974 death of 16-year-old Colleen MacMillen of Lac La Hache, B.C., and he was suspected of killing Gale Weys and Pamela Darlington in 1973.

MacMillen was last seen on Aug. 9, 1974, when she left her home, planning to hitchhike a ride to a friends house. Her body was found a month later off a logging road 46 kilometres to the south.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Wayne Clary said police have now interviewed all of Fowler's relatives and ex-wives without furthering the case, and DNA or other forensic evidence likely won't be the key to solving the murders.

"We've gone and we've looked at all his prison records, his pre-sentence report concerning his convictions in the United States. In fact, that's how we gleaned the information that led us up to Prince George where he worked for a roofing company."

When police held their news conference a year ago, they described Fowler as a transient labourer who used drugs, was often violent against women and had a propensity to pick up female hitchhikers.

Clary said he believes someone has information, perhaps a person who Fowler may have spoken to about his crimes, yet hasn't come forward to police.

"You know, as people get older and they mature, their life predicament changes and perhaps they would now be a position to talk with police."

In the weeks after announcing Fowler was a suspect, hundreds of tips poured in.

The three deaths linked to Fowler are among 18 women who disappeared or were murdered along northern B.C. highways, including Highway 16, also known as the Highway of Tears.

Sally Gibson, whose niece, Lana Derrick, 20, disappeared from Terrace, B.C., on Oct. 9, 1995, said Wednesday that her family feels like it's in a waiting game.

"Everybody tells us, 'just be patient, just wait.' Everybody's faithfully waiting, and we don't even know what we're waiting for anymore," she said.

"It just doesn't seem like anything's being done. We're being told that there is stuff being done but we don't see it, like it's not here. Where is something being done?"

In 2005, RCMP launched a large investigation into the deaths of the women aimed at determining if one or more serial killers were at work along three northern B.C. highways. (CFJC, The Canadian Press)

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