Twenty years ago, Sharon Abraham was a “confident, outgoing” woman and the doting mother of two beautiful daughters, her former friend says.
But the RCMP has now confirmed that ongoing testing of evidence seized from serial killer Robert (Willie) Pickton’s farm has found the DNA of Abraham and another missing woman, Stephanie Lane.
The development means the DNA of 32 women has been seized from Pickton’s farm — half the names on a police poster of 64 women who vanished from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside from 1978 to 2001.
Pickton was convicted of killing six of those women, and is charged with killing another 20 — but any second trial is on hold pending the appeal of his first trial.
Abraham and Lane join four other women, Yvonne Boen, Jackie Murdock, Dawn Crey and Nancy Clark, whose DNA police previously said was found on the farm.
RCMP Const. Annie Linteau said the Missing Women Task Force is preparing a report to Crown counsel recommending charges against Pickton for those six women, even though police have been told verbally by the Crown that the charges will likely never be laid.
Linteau said police are still sending the report to conclude their investigation, and to be prepared in case a new trial against Pickton is ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada, which will hear his appeal in March.
“We are sending all the findings of our investigation to the Crown for their consideration, even though we have been told by Crown and the public has been told by Crown they would not proceed with additional charges,” Linteau said.
Crown spokesman Neil Mackenzie said prosecutors will look at the police report when it arrives, but reiterated if Pickton loses his appeal then no additional charges will be taken to trial against the former Port Coquitlam pig farmer, who is serving a life sentence.
The Crown’s decision has disappointed many families.
Very little has ever been published about Abraham, but her friend Teresa Hardy contacted The Vancouver Sun to share memories of her former roommate in happier times.
The two women lived together in 1989, after meeting in a Lower Mainland transition house. Abraham, who had a toddler and a baby, was starting her life over after leaving an abusive relationship.
“She never drank when she was with me, never did drugs. We didn’t go to bars. We did things with the kids,” Hardy said. “She always made sure the kids had diapers. She wasn’t out buying cigarettes and beer. She always made sure the rent was paid and there was food in the house.”
Hardy last saw her friend in 1990, when Abraham and her girls had their own apartment, and was shocked to learn her friend disappeared in 2000.
“The three of them were such a happy family unit,” Hardy said. … I’d like to tell her kids some day that their mom was pretty cool. It breaks my heart because she loved them so much.”