Now I ask you... Is this really a surprise to anyone?
Police added eight more names to Vancouver's missing women list on Wednesday
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Police added eight more names to Vancouver's missing women list on Wednesday, bringing the total to 69, many of whom are feared to be victims of accused serial killer Robert Pickton.
Police added the names after exhausting other efforts to find the women, but said there was no evidence so far they might have been killed by the Port Coquitlam pig farmer.
Pickton is facing 22 murder charges but investigators have found the DNA of 30 women on his farm -- 27 of whom are on the list and three whose names remain a mystery. His trial is expected to begin next year.
The Missing Women's Task Force was established in 1998 amid criticism that police were ignoring the disappearances of female drug addicts and prostitutes from the city's poverty-stricken Downtown Eastside neighborhood.
Investigators have been scouring reports of missing women from across Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest, to determine if they might have made it to the Downtown Eastside before disappearing without a trace.
"By the time they reach the list, we've run out of options," said task force spokeswoman Vancouver Police Sgt. Sheila Sullivan.
The list originally had 31 names and has been increased several times. It includes a woman who has not been seen since 1983, but most disappeared from 1991 to late 2001.
Pickton was arrested in February 2002 and remains in custody. He is the only person charged in connection with the missing women.
The charges are based, in part, on DNA evidence collected in an 18 month search of his ramshackle farm in a Vancouver suburb. A court order prohibits the news media from reporting details of that evidence until the trial.
Pickton has not entered a plea to the criminal charges, but has denied any connection with the women's disappearances in a related civil lawsuit.
The criminal trial has been delayed because laboratories are still analyzing DNA evidence from the farm search.
Police hope to develop DNA profiles of the eight women added to the list on Wednesday to see if they match the DNA from the farm that has not been identified.