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RCMP announce breakthrough in murdered and missing women case
The RCMP task force investigating murdered and missing women in BC announced today a breakthrough in the Highway of Tears case.
A DNA match from US citizen Bobby Jack Fowler has been linked to Colleen MacMillen, whose body was found near 100 Mile House in 1974, and RCMP today said they were able to state that Fowler is responsible for the murder of MacMillen.
Fowler, who died of natural causes in an Oregon prison in 2006, is known to have worked in Prince George in 1974 for a company called Happy's Roofing. Based on interviews with people who knew Fowler, RCMP say he was very transient, was known to like picking up female hitchhikers and has an extensive violent criminal history in a number of states in the US. RCMP also say Fowler held the belief that women who hitchhiked or frequented bars had a desire to be sexually assaulted, with living victims providing "very graphic and explicit" recounts of their interactions with Fowler.
Given the timing, RCMP have eliminated Fowler as a suspect in eight of the 18 missing women cases, but say he remains a person of interest in the remaining cases and is strongly suspected in at least two other murders.
While RCMP have made a time line for the past 40 years of Fowler's life based on discussions with the FBI, corrections facilities in the United States, cell mates and others, they are finding it challenging to track his movement and history in northern BC and are asking the public for help.
“We believe that there are people who worked with him, employed him, socialized with him or even waited on him while he was in British Columbia,” said Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens.
“We are open to the possibility that he committed further violent actions against other women that may or may not have been reported to the RCMP.”
MacMillen's brother Shawn said he is hopeful today's announcement may help bring closure to other families in the future.
“For the families of the women who are still missing, we hope this means they may yet have their answers,” he said.
As for the other cases, RCMP say in some instances they have very strong “persons of interest” but are unable to release information to the public at this point.
Anyone with information about Fowler, his movements in BC or the case is asked to call the tip line at 1-877-543-4822.