William Pickton: The Pig Farmer
Robert William Pickton is a pig farmer from the city of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada who has been charged with the first degree murders of twenty-six women, and is implicated, as of January 28, 2004, in the murders of up to five more, many of them prostitutes from the Downtown Eastside district of the city of Vancouver. The government has indicated it plans to bring at least seven more murder charges against him in the coming year, and new DNA evidence continues to be unearthed at his farm. Pickton was first arrested in February 2002, but claims he is innocent. Pickton first came to the attention of police in 1997 when he was charged with attempted murder. The charges were subsequently dropped. Later, police would search the farm, but find nothing.
The first of his victims to go missing was Rebecca Guno who was a prostitute in Vancuver’s downtown eastside. She went missing in June of 1983. She was the first of 61 women who would be added to a list of missing women from the area. It would take 19 years before charges were filed in any of the missing women cases.
In February of 2002, police again searched the farm, this time uncovering DNA evidence matching that of a missing woman. Pickton was arrested on February 22, charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Three months later, three more charges were added, and shortly after that a sixth and seventh. In October, four more charges were added, bringing the total to fifteen, and again in May 2005, twelve more charges were added, bringing the total to 27. Subsequently, one charge was rejected by the judge because it failed to meet the minimal requirements set out in the Criminal Code.
Excavations have stopped, but were ongoing for two years. Currently the property is fenced off, and at some point may be developed. In the meantime, all the buildings were demolished. Forensic analysis is very difficult because the bodies of the alleged victims may have been left to decompose or allowed to be eaten by insects and pigs on the farm. During the early days of the excavations forensic anthropologists brought in large construction machinery, conveyor belts, and soil sifters to find traces of remains. On March 10, 2004, it was revealed that human flesh may have been ground up and mixed with pork from the farm. This pork was never distributed commercially, but was handed out to friends and visitors of the farm.
Can you imagine hearing this story and knowing you accepted meat from the farm? I don’t think I’d eat meat for years after that, especially things like hotdogs and pig related items. Just thinking about it makes me sick.