The Current

Robert Pickton case haunts former detective Lori Shenher

Four years before serial killer Robert Pickton was arrested, then Detective Lori Shenher had Pickton on her radar but couldn't convince anyone to investigate him. Her work on the file took her to what she calls "That Lonely Section of Hell".
"I felt nothing but grief" says former VPD Detective Lori Shenher when Robert Pickton was finally arrested after 'botched' investigation. ( Jennifer Fell)
"...I had people coming up to me in the couple of days, weeks after his arrest, saying "Oh, wasn't that your guy? That's your guy!" ...and every time I heard that I just about threw up."- Former Detective Lori Shenher on Robert Pickton case

As part of our project Ripple Effect we look back on February, 2002, and how the search of Robert Pickton's farm outside Vancouver, almost never came to be... how a series of circumstances, decisions and mistakes delayed the capture of a killer. 

Robert Pickton was convicted on six counts of second-degree murder, but is suspected of killing many more missing women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. (Vancouver Police Dept)

When police finally did start combing the property, they found personal items. They seemed to belong to women who'd been reported missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Next they found personal remains.

In the end, the remains or DNA of 33 women were found on Pickton's farm... and he was eventually convicted of six counts of second-degree murder. Today he's serving a life sentence.   

But questions around the police investigation still linger.

Lori Shenher was at the centre of many of those questions. She was a detective with the Vancouver Police Department who had been assigned to the missing person's file. Her new book is called... "That Lonely Section of Hell - The Botched Investigation of a Serial Killer Who Almost Got Away". 

We did request interviews with both the RCMP and the Vancouver Police Department - but both declined. 

In an email, the VPD  wrote that they did - quote --

an extensive self-autopsy after the Pickton investigation. There were mistakes made and we could have caught Pickton earlier. We made a number of changes as a result of looking at how we could do things better and prevent such tragedies from happening again.

This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath.