By Tim Lambert

The Highway of Tears is a name given to highway 16 in British Columbia, Canada because of a number of tragic murders and disappearances of young women along it or nearby. The Highway runs from the town of Prince George to the port of Prince Rupert on the coast. Along the route are several small towns and villages separated from each other by long distances. Other murders or disappearances happened along highway 5 and highway 97 nearby. Some of the victims were hitchhiking when they disappeared. Hitchhiking may be dangerous but because the area is thinly populated there is a lack of public transport. So for people without a vehicle hitchhiking is a necessity.

The first victim was 26 year old Gloria Moody. She was last seen in the town of Williams Lake in central British Columbia on 25 October 1969 leaving a bar. Her body was found in a woods the next day 10 kilometers west of the town. The next victim was 18 year old Micheline Pare in July 1970. She had been hitchhiking. Two women dropped her off at the gates of a ranch along highway 29 near the small town of Hudsons Hope in Northeast British Columbia. Her body was found on 8 August 1970.

The Highway of Tears in the 1970s

The next victim was 19 year old Gale Weys. She was last seen on 19 October 1973 hitchhiking from Clearwater to Kamloops. Her body was later found south of Clearwater. On 6 November 1973 19 year old Pamela Darlingon was murdered in Kamloops. She was last seen in a bar. Her body was found in a park the next day.

On 9 August 1974 16 year old Colleen MacMillen from Lac La Hache went hitchhiking to a friends house. Her body was found on 4 September 1974 near 100 Mile House. For 38 years her murder was unsolved until DNA evidence provided the name of the killer. In 2012 it was discovered that he was an American called Bobby Jack Fowler. He worked as a roofer in Prince George in 1974. However Fowler was sent to prison in the USA in 1995 for kidnapping a young woman who fortunately managed to escape from him. He died in a US prison in 2006. It is strongly suspected that Fowler killed 2 other young women, Gale Weys and Pamela Darlington in 1973.

Meanwhile a 15 year old schoolgirl from Thornhill named Monica Ignas was murdered. She went missing on 13 December 1974. (Its believed she was on her way home from school). Her body was found on 6 April 1975 east of the town of Terrace in British Columbia.The youngest victim was 12 year old Monica Jack. She disappeared on 6 May 1978 while riding her bike near Nicola Lake. Her skeletal remains was found in June 1995 near the town of Merritt.

The Highway of Tears in the 1980s and 1990s

On 8 May 1981 33 year old Maureen Mosie was last seen in Salmon Arm. It is believed she was hitchhiking. Her body was found the next day near the town of Kamloops. A 16 year old girl, Shelly Anne Bascu was last seen on 3 May 1983 walking home along highway 16 from a friends house near Hinton, Alberta. Some of her clothing was later found near the Athabasca River but her body is still missing. On 26 August 1989 24 year old Alberta Williams went missing from Prince Rupert. Her body was later found about 37 kilometers from the town by highway 16. Then on 14 June 1990 15 year old Delphine Nikal went missing while trying to hitchhike from the town of Smithers in British Columbia to her home in Telkwa. She has never been found

On 11 June 1994 16 year old Ramona Wilson was hitchhiking to a friend's house in the small town of Smithers when she disappeared. Her body was found on 9 April 1995 near Smithers airport. Lana Derrick aged 19 went missing on 7 October 1995. She was last seen at a gas station in Thornhill.

The Highway of Tears in the 21st Century

On 21 June 2002 24 year old Nicole Hoar went missing. Nicole was from Red Deer, Alberta and she was working as a tree planter in Prince George, British Columbia. She was last seen at a gas station on the outskirts of Prince George. Nicole planned to hitchhike to Smithers to see her sister. On 21 September 2005 22 year old Tamara Chipman went missing. She was last seen in the outskirts of Prince Rupert intending to hitchhike to Terrace.

Then on 2 February 2006 a 14 year old girl, Aielah Saric Auger went missing. Her body was found on 11 February 2006 near Tabor Mountain 20 kilometers west of Prince George along highway 16. Meanwhile in 2005 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police formed Project E-PANA to investigate unsolved murders. In 2007 the investigation was widened to include 13 murders and 5 disappearances along highways 16, 5 and 97. Then on 28 May 2011 20 year old Madison Scott went missing while camping at Hogsback Lake 25 kilometers south of the small town of Vanderhoof.

Madison Scott website

Earle Nelson

A History of Canada

A History of Vancouver, British Columbia

A Timeline of Canada