The Current

Tomorrow: Former Detective Lori Shenher disheartened by massive MMIW failure

Tomorrow, Anna Maria Tremonti speaks with former Vancouver Police Detective Lori Shenher about her new book "That Lonely Section of Hell." Lori Shenher was the first detective tasked with investigating why so many women were disappearing in Vancouver.
Vancouver Police Detective Const. Lori Shenher was the lone VPD member investigating reports of missing women on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in the 1990s. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
"An inquiry has to explore not only the role of policing, not only the role of poverty and addiction and mental health services ... it has to explore the role of government programs in supporting all those things."-  Former Detective Lori Shenher on what is needed in a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Seven years into her career at the Vancouver Police department, she was assigned to the Missing Persons file. At the time there was a growing list of women who were missing from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.  But there were no bodies, and no proof that the women had been murdered. 

The first week on the job, a tip came in about a man named Robert William Pickton. But a lack of resources, a lack of co-operation with the RCMP and general police indifference to the missing womens' case meant Lori Shenher was never able to connect him to the file. 

It was after she left the missing womens' case that Pickton was arrested and later convicted on 6 counts of murder and link to so many more. That experience left her with PTSD. 

Coming up Tomorrow, Anna Maria talks to Lori Shenher about the case and how it's haunted her.

When asked whether a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is needed, Lori Shenher had this to say:

Lori Shenher's new book is called "That Lonely Section of Hell: The Botched Investigation of a Serial Killer Who Almost Got Away." 

Our season-long series Ripple Effect has started. You can to a special documentary "Reviving Riace" about how refugees are revitalizing a small town in Italy. And you can also find Anna Maria's conversation with Martin Cooper, the father of the cellphone.

Go to the Ripple Effect website to follow our segments in this series.