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Highway of Tears Meeting 'Valuable'

By Michelle Cyr-Whiting

Friday, October 22, 2010 07:17 PM

Prince George, B.C. - It has been a long day information-sharing for family members of the 18 missing and murdered women considered part of the Highway of Tears investigation.

They gathered in Prince George to meet with RCMP investigators of E-Pana, the unit set up to investigate the unsolved cases.  It was the 7th time the two sides have met since a symposium in 2006 recommended police provide the families with regular updates on the status of the investigations.

RCMP Spokesperson, Constable Annie Linteau, says she won't get into specifics of the meeting because police want the family members to know their discussions will remain private.  But she says it's seen as a valuable opportunity by both sides:  it's a chance for the families to ask questions, share their feelings and share amongst each other; and it's an opportunity for investigators to provide any updates and talk about their commitment to solving each case.

Linteau readily admits there's a sense of frustration on the part of the families that there are no answers to the Highway of Tears' mysteries at this point.  "No one can imagine what it must be like to go on for 35-years, 20-years, 15-years, 5-years without knowing what's happened to your loved one.  None of us would want to go through that," she says.  "But I believe as the day goes on, and, of course, after hearing what we had to say, that they always leave with a sense of hope."

She says investigators did emphasize during the meeting that each file remains "active and ongoing -- there's always work that is happening and being done that we may not be able to share with the public, but certainly the families and the public have our commitment that every investigator is thoroughly investigating those cases."

Constable Linteau adds "We always hear in the media of cases that are very dated and are ultimately solved, but these (Highway of Tears) are very complicated cases and we are certainly hopeful that one day we will be able to give those family members closure."


On a seperate issue, Linteau reiterated what RCMP said last weekend, that the murder of 35-year-old Cynthia Maas and disappearance of 23-year-old Natasha Montgomery remain Prince George RCMP investigations.  She says that's not to say the situation won't change in the future, if links are found between the two city cases and some of the 18 E-Pana cases.

A call to North District Senior Media Relations Officer, Corporal Dan Moskaluk, seeking any updates on the local cases was not returned this afternoon.

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I would like to know how this process is "valuable" for the families?
This is the 7th time the families have met with the E Panna team since 2006. There have been no cases solved. What is the point of meeting with the families when there have been no cases solved? This is traumatizing for the families I would think. To attend these meetings with the glimmer of hope that they will be told something that might ease their pain. What happened to all of the promises made at the Highway of Tears Symposium in 2006? Where is the ongoing support for the family members? Where is the funding that was supposed to be allocated to work with the families in a meaningful way...not merely a token gesture? Meeting with the RCMP twice a year is not supportive when there has been no progress made in putting closure and rest so these family members can move forward.
This whole process has been hugely ineffective in my opinion.
How long will this continue? There must be a Sherlock Holmes we could hire instead of paying millions to the RCMP with no results. Of course it is a difficult task because the police can only arrive after the crime is committed. Without a crime scene it becomes much more difficult. Where is our 'Angela Lansbury'?
The Name is "Highway 16" and if you keep your Eyes open you can count the Crosses on the Side and there are many along the Road, so many died on this narrow at Times poorly maintained Road, all the once who lost a Member of there Family, have shed Tears too!