HIGHWAY OF TEARS: Macmillen murder solved

After almost 40 years at least one of the Highways of Tears murders has been solved.

Bobby  Jack Fowler

Bobby Jack Fowler

After almost 40 years at least one of the Highways of Tears murders has been solved.

Colleen Macmillen was 16 years old in 1973 when she made plans to hitch-hike from her home in Lac la Hache to the home of a friend. No one saw her alive again after she left her home. Instead her body was found about 46 km south of where she was last seen.

Decades later, in 2006, as forensic science became a more precise tool, evidence collected at the scene was sent to a lab. There the DNA of an unknown male was discovered, however no match for that male was found in the data base. In 2012 samples of the DNA were sent to Interpol.

They got a hit.

In May of 2012 CODIS matched the DNA to an American, Bobby Jack Fowler.

Fowler, who died of natural causes in an American prison in May of 2006 at the age of 66, had an extensive violent criminal history including attempted murder, sexual assault, arson, kidnapping and attempted sexual assault.

“Since we got the hit investigators have been pursuing Fowler’s movements over his lifetime,” Inspector Gary Shinkaruk with E-PANA, said.

They spoke to family members, associates and former cell mates among others to determine with certainty where Fowler travelled and when.

A transient, it has been determined that Fowler lived in Prince George in 1974. He worked for Happy’s Roofing, which is now out of business, its records destroyed in a flood.

Police are asking for the public’s help in filling in the blanks of Fowler’s life. They say he stayed in and lived in hotels, liked old cars and drove them till they quit, and frequented bars.

“We believe there are people out there who employed Fowler and socialized with him. We want the public’s help,” he said adding Fowler worked as a roofer and labourer.

Police believe there are other victims of Fowler, people he may have assaulted who survived.

Fowler is suspected in at least two more of the 18 Highway of Tears murders or disappearances E-PANA was created to investigate.

The two women are Gale Weys, who went missing Oct. 19 1973 and whose body was found six months later, and Pamela Darlington who was murdered Nov. 6, 1973.

Though Fowler has been eliminated as a suspect in eight of the files, he remains someone to look at in the other cases.

At the same time, Oregon suspects Fowler of at least four murders and are conducting an investigation as well.

The public is being asked to share any bit of information they have on Fowler, no matter how insignificant it might seem.

People can call the E-PANA tip hotline at 1-877-543-4822 or their local CrimeStoppers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

lotto max logo
Are you the lucky winner?

A $1 million ticket was bought in Burns Lake for Friday’s Lotto… Continue reading

Jill Mackenzie carefully replaces books on the shelves at the Houston Public Library. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
District approves annual library grant

Craft kits featured for summer reading club

The tradition of Houston Christian School grads giving Bibles to incoming kindergarten students will take place this year, but outdoors and in a modified fashion. (File photo)
Houston Christian School grad day is June 24

Grads themselves have set tone for the day, says teacher

Scott Richmond will be starting as the new vice principal for HSS and TSE. (Submitted/Houston Today)
Houston gets a new vice principal

Scott Richmond takes over from Dwayne Anderson who moved to Smithers

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read