Lynn Frey, who was the first of the victim’s family members on the stand at the Missing Women Inquiry yesterday, described how she took it upon herself to search for her stepdaughter. She scoured the streets of the Downtown Eastside carrying Marnie’s photograph, looking in back alleys and garbage dumpsters and asking people if they knew or saw her.
Marnie left their Campbell River home in her teens and moved to the Downtown Eastside in 1995. She was addicted to cocaine and heroin and was very open about being a sex trade worker to pay for her drugs, Frey told the inquiry.
The last time she spoke to her stepdaughter, Frey recalled, was on Marnie’s 24th birthday on Aug. 30, 1997. Frey said she became concerned after she never heard back from Marnie for a couple of days.
She testified she filed a report about Marnie’s disappearance to the Campbell River RCMP, which told them to wait for a few more days.
“I knew something was wrong and so did her dad,” Frey said.
In one of her trips to Vancouver in 1998, Frey testified she heard rumors about a farm where women ended up in a “chipper.” Some sex trade workers told her they’d been to a farm 45 minutes from Vancouver near a fast-flowing muddy river, she added.
Frey’s foster sister Joyce Lachance, who lived in Port Coquitlam, knew where the farm was. They ended up in front of Pickton’s farm, she testified, and she even tried to climb the fence, but backed down after two Rottweilers came.
“When I was backing out of the driveway, I had a very weird feeling,” Frey testified. “My heart was pounding. I thought at first it was just because I was having an anxiety attack, but … it was a reality check. She was there.”
Rick Frey said outside the courtroom he wants to see this inquiry go until the very end and hear all the sides from the people involved.
“Somebody might be listening, maybe,” he said. “Hopefully, they are … and we can make change.”