Brian Hutchinson has written an excellent article in today’s National Post that summarizes some of the evidence before the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.  The first paragraph reads:

“It was April 2000, the height of Robert “Willie” Pickton’s killing spree. Dozens of women were already missing, and 23 more would vanish. The Port Coquitlam pig farmer was trolling for skid row prostitutes, driving them to his farm, murdering them, disposing of their bodies and going back for more. He would continue this horrible pattern for at least another year, and right under the noses of police.”

The Pickton brothers' Dominion Ave. property: Ian Lindsay, Postmedia News

After noting that Pickton became a prime suspect of both the RCMP and VPD in August of 1998, Hutchinson writes:

“Perhaps most telling, on April 25, 2000, RCMP officers were already discussing the possibility that bungled police efforts would lead to a public inquiry.

On that date, a staff sergeant named Brad Zalys had a conversation with a superior officer, RCMP Inspector Earl Moulton. Staff Sgt. Zalys made the following observation in his notebook: “Also discussed Pickton again–>if he turns out to be responsible–>inquiry!–>Deal with that if the time comes!”

What led Staff Sgt. Zalys, Inspector Moulton, and others to such a state? What did they know? Why hadn’t Pickton been stopped by then? And why did B.C.’s criminal justice branch decide, in 1998, to stay proceedings against the loathsome pig farmer, after he’d been charged with attempting to murder a prostitute on his pig farm?

The present inquiry, led by former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal, has a mandate to find out all of that, and to recommend changes to the way police homicide investigations are conducted.”

Robert William Pickton was not stopped until February 5, 2002.  By then he had participated in as many as 49 murders.

The RCMP have never apologized to the families of the murdered women for their handling of the case.  The Crown has never apologized to the families for letting Pickton walk away from charges of attempted murder, assault with a weapon, forcible confinement and aggravated assault arising from his attack on a Vancouver sex trade worker in March of 1997.