Sixth family files lawsuit against Pickton, police

VANCOUVER — The children of yet another woman whose DNA was found on Robert Pickton’s farm have launched a civil suit against the serial killer, the Vancouver police and the RCMP, bringing to six the number of families who have launched lawsuits in the wake of a sharply critical public inquiry report released late last year.

VANCOUVER — The children of yet another woman whose DNA was found on Robert Pickton’s farm have launched a civil suit against the serial killer, the Vancouver police and the RCMP, bringing to six the number of families who have launched lawsuits in the wake of a sharply critical public inquiry report released late last year.

Shari and Ryan Murdock filed a notice of civil claim in mid-July over the death of their mother, Jacqueline Murdock, who was reported missing in August 1997 and whose DNA was later found on Pickton’s property after his arrest in February 2002.

Murdock was among six women whose DNA was found on the farm but for whom no charges were ever laid.

Like the earlier statements of claim, the Murdock children allege the Vancouver police and the RCMP put their mother at risk by failing to properly investigate reports of missing sex workers or warn the public of a potential serial killer.

The lawsuits echo the findings of a public inquiry report, released last December, which concluded systemic bias within both police forces slowed the response as women vanished from the Downtown Eastside, many ending up dead on Pickton’s farm, in the late 1990s and early 2000s

Commissioner Wally Oppal, a former judge and one-time attorney general, concluded the police response would likely have been different if the missing weren’t poor, drug-addicted women, many of them aboriginal, from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The latest statement of claim — which, like the others, contains allegations that haven’t been proven in court — alleges police knew a serial killer may have been at work, but did nothing.

“Notwithstanding their knowledge of the risk to sex workers, (Vancouver police) and RCMP failed to warn Jacqueline and others of the risk of a serial killer,” says the statement of claim.

“The failure to warn by the VPD and RCMP was a contributing cause of Jacqueline’s death.”

All six families are being represented by the same lawyer, who has indicated the cases could force Pickton to testify and answer for his crime — something that has yet to happen since his arrest more than a decade ago.

The lawsuits have also provided new details about the women and the children they left behind.

In the statement of claim, Murdock is described as “a positive, friendly and caring person” who hoped to one day overcome her addiction and return to her family.

“She enjoyed writing poetry in her journal,” the document says. “Jacqueline is remembered for her fun-loving personality and her loud, contagious laughter.”

Shari Murdock recently graduated from a social work program and is looking for work in her field, the statement of claim says. Ryan Murdock is a cook.

The Murdock children join five other families who have launched lawsuits. They include the children of Stephanie Lane, Dianne Rock, Sarah de Vries, Cynthia Feliks and Yvonne Boen.

Pickton was initially charged with 27 counts of murder, later reduced to 26, though he was put on trial and convicted of six. The remaining 20 charges were stayed.

Rock, de Vries and Feliks were among the 20 women whose cases were stayed. Murdock, Lane and Boen were in yet another group of six women whose DNA was found on Pickton’s farm, though he was never charged in their deaths.

The remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his property. The lawyer for the families has suggested more lawsuits could be on the way.

The families’ lawsuits have all been filed separately and make different allegations depending on the experiences of each woman and family.

Several of the lawsuits also allege prosecutors within British Columbia’s criminal justice branch were negligent when they declined to put Pickton on trial for attempted murder following an attack on a sex worker in 1997.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

A man on a skateboard and a young woman pass large letters spelling out UBC at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on November 22, 2015. The federal government is writing off more than $200 million in outstanding student loan payments that officials will never be able to collect. Recently released spending documents show the government won't collect $203.5 million in debts from 34,240 students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan

VANCOUVER — A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing is set to start… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday’s $25 million Lotto max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

MADISON, Wis. — States asked the federal government this week to withhold… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Most Read