EDMONTON – On Friday, Justice Denny Thomas ruled the Crown can cross-examine Travis Vader’s sister, Bobbi-Jo Vader, as a hostile witness because of inconsistencies in her statements about meth and guns.
“I do believe my brother is innocent and I will stick up for him any way I can, in telling the truth,” Bobbi-Jo said Friday.
She said she was addicted to crack-cocaine and was hallucinating in July 2010. She said she could have been high during three separate RCMP interviews. The Crown played the audio from an August 2010 interview with RCMP. At that time, she told the investigator her brother started changing two years earlier.
“I can say, in the last few years, Travis has really changed.”
Bobbi-Jo said her brother had a happy life with a beautiful house, seven kids, living in Summerland, BC. But, she said when he moved back to Alberta, “he went from having everything to nothing.”
She said her brother lost his family and his job.
“He’s hanging out with people that are affiliated with crime,” Bobbi-Jo said in 2010. “He’s into meth. He calls himself a cook.”
“He’s not the same, he’s not the same. When I look into his eyes, he’s not there,” the recording replayed.
Vader’s sister told court Friday she didn’t remember this interview.
TIMELINE: The key events in the Travis Vader case
Bobbi-Jo took the stand Thursday afternoon, but the Crown alleged her statements in court don’t align with several police statements she made in 2010.
After questioning the 40-year-old about her brother, the Crown called upon Justice Thomas to review her “inconsistencies.” Thomas adjourned the case for the day and ordered Bobbi-Jo to return to court Friday morning.
Bobbi-Jo testified she heard her brother had done meth, but she never saw him do the drug.
In July 2010 she told RCMP her brother was into meth and called himself a “cook.”
Vader’s sister again said she never saw him do meth, telling the court he had a lot of stress in his life.
“I assumed he had done meth,” she said, testifying he would talk fast and seemed agitated.
In late July 2010, she spoke to media outside the courthouse after Vader was before the court on charges unrelated to the McCann investigation.
At that time Bobbi-Jo said her brother used drugs and after being caught hiding out from police she hoped his time behind bars would help her brother.
“I was very emotional,” she said in that interview with Global News. “I just feel really sad for the guy. I just hope that one day he gets his life straightened out.”
Bobbi-Jo told the court her brother arrived at an Edmonton home she was staying at on July 4, 2010.
“He looked tired, sick, like he needed some sleep.”
She said Travis was driving a light tan or grey truck and she went into that truck to fetch his belongings.
“I do know there were some guns in the back seat, but I didn’t see them myself.” Bobbi-Jo then told the court she was confused and “messed up on drugs” at the time and perhaps someone put the gun idea in her head.
During two separate RCMP interviews in 2010 Bobbi-Jo told RCMP a different story. Both times she told the investigator that Travis told her he had guns.
“Maybe he did tell me. I’m not sure,” she told the court Thursday afternoon.
She also told the court her brother had six children by July 2010 and that his wife had left him.
Travis is facing two first-degree murder charges, accused of killing Lyle and Marie McCann.
The St. Albert couple fuelled up at a superstore on July 3, 2010 before heading to B.C. for a family camping trip. Their burned out motorhome was discovered two days later near the Minnow Lake campground.
The green SUV the McCanns were towing behind the motorhome was found on July 16, the same day RCMP named Vader as a person of interest.
Three days later Vader was arrested on outstanding warrants.
“If you knew Travis as a person, you would know that he would never harm or do anything to any innocent person,” Bobbi-Jo Vader said in 2010.
“Travis is not like that whatsoever. So, I believe in my heart he had nothing to do with the missing couple.”
*EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on April 14 and updated on April 15 with the Justice’s ruling.