Robert William Pickton was born October 24th, 1949 in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. He inherited property along with two other siblings and when portions of the family property were purchased for development the Pickton's became quite well off financially.
Robert and his brother David threw outrageous and wild parties regularly, using a converted building near their pig farm that they dubbed "The Piggy Palace." These parties lasted all hours of the night and were attended by numerous citizens of Vancouver, friends, and prostitutes from downtown’s Eastside, which was a haven for drug addicts and sex workers.
The “Piggy Palace” was also used to host charity events and functions on behalf of worthy groups and sports organizations. The Pickton’s ran a registered charity called “Piggy Palace Good Times Society.” It’s believed Robert preyed on female victims he came into contact with during these wild parties.
Dating back to the early 1980’s women began disappearing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. At least sixty women were missing and most all were poor, disadvantaged drug addicts or prostitutes. A task force consisting of Royal Canadian Mounted Police and members from the Vancouver Police Department working together following leads and trying to solve the mystery of the vanishing women.
The Downtown Eastside of Vancouver is the oldest part of Vancouver and is known for it’s high volume of poverty, crime, drugs, and for the center of the city’s sex trade. The area’s urban decay made it the ideal hunting ground for a serial killer looking for victims who wouldn’t be missed.
One name kept reoccurring during the investigation and suspicions began falling on a local pig farmer named Robert Pickton. On February 5th, 2002 police acquired a search warrant to look for supposed illegal firearms that had been reported to police and Robert was arrested on firearms charges but later released. A second warrant was issued and when personal items belonging to some of the known missing women surfaced and the task force arrested Pickton on February 22nd, 2002 and charged him with murder.
The Pickton property was subjected to extreme excavation by forensic anthropologists and heavy equipment, including a fifty-foot conveyor belt and soil sifters to help identify human remains on the property. Identifying the remains was made more difficult because of decomposition and the fact that many of the bodies may have been fed to the farm’s pigs.
Enough evidence and DNA was able to be collected to positively identify at least six different victims and allow the task force to make a case for at least six murders. Pickton freely bragged about committing forty-nine murders and was disappointed that due to sloppiness he would not be able to reach his goal of fifty victims.
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