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Pickton victims' families decry 'hurtful' police testimony at Missing Women Inquiry

The Missing Women Inquiry has been nothing but disappointing and insensitive, family members of Robert Pickton's victims say.

Michele Pineault, whose daughter was killed by Robert Pickton, said it was like "a slap in the face" when an RCMP officer who reviewed the investigation referred to police errors in the case as "unfortunate" at Thursday's hearing.

"Certainly, ... there were areas of mis-investigation that we could have expanded on further in certain areas," RCMP Superintendent Robert Williams said when asked if he was in a position to apologize for the force's failings in the case. "But as far as for any apology, it's unfortunate what has happened has happened, but I would think that management of the division would be more knowledgeable with respect to that, and I would defer to them."

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Ms. Pineault said Supt. William's use of "unfortunate" in connection with the Pickton murders and investigation was disrespectful. "That's what you'd say if you stubbed your toe or missed an appointment," she said. "What it is is a horrific tragedy, not unfortunate. It's like a slap in the face. It's hurtful."

Ms. Pineault's daughter, Stephanie Lane, died 14 years ago Thursday.

Supt. Williams, who heads crime operations in Alberta, reviewed the RCMP's Pickton investigation in 2002, after a request from victims' families. He concluded in his November, 2002, report that the RCMP acted appropriately.

Ms. Pineault and other victims' family members are hoping the inquiry will start hearing soon from the officers who were involved in the Pickton investigation, not those who weren't, such as Supt. Williams.

"If you want to know about World War II, are you going to talk to someone who writes history books?" asked Lori-Ann Ellis, sister-in-law of victim Cara Ellis. "No, you're going to talk to the soldiers from the trenches."

Ms. Ellis said she was happy to hear from expert witnesses such as Dr. John Lowman last year, because they "painted a picture that needed to be painted" of the women's lives in the Downtown Eastside. "But now, we want to hear from the police who turned the other way when our girls were being murdered.

"I want to know why it is that they can go look in the mirror every day and know that the blood of our daughters, and sisters, and mothers are in their hands," she said, "and they can just put a smile on their face, and carry on as if nothing happened?"

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