‘I blame it on the meth’: Travis Vader’s sister offers glimpse into his past

Bobbi-Jo Vader being interviewed by RCMP August 6, 2010. Crown evidence

EDMONTON – Taped interviews with Bobbi-Jo Vader were played in court Monday, as part of her brother’s double murder trial. She said Travis gave everything to his kids.

The interviews with RCMP will be played in their entirety and Justice Denny Thomas will determine if they can be entered as part of the trial.

In a taped interview on July 16, 2010, three days before Travis was arrested, Bobbi-Jo provided RCMP a look into her brother’s life before he spiralled into despair.

Bobbi-Jo said her brother married his wife in 1997, the couple had six daughters together, and Travis had an adopted son from their marriage.

The couple lived in Niton Junction before their house burned down, but then moved to Summerland, B.C. for a “fresh start.”

Bobbi-Jo said when Travis moved to Summerland he bought his family a $600,000 house with an in-ground heated pool. She said he gave his wife and kids everything, including skiing, music and skateboarding lessons.

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At that time, she said Travis owned his own oilfield consulting company.

TIMELINE: The key events in the Travis Vader case

However, in the taped 2010 interview, Bobbi-Jo said their relationship crumbled after his brother’s wife met someone else online. She left him and Travis was ordered to pay about $10,000 in child support every month, Bobbi-Jo said.

She explained half or all of his work cheque went to his former wife and kids, and Travis was left with nothing.

“He feels like he’s alone and nobody wants to be around him,” she told RCMP.

Bobbi-Jo said her brother moved back to Alberta and was in jail in December 2009. She paid half his bail.

READ MORE: ‘Why do they want me so bad?’: Texts between Vader’s phone and ex shown in court 

In July 2010, she said Travis called her and asked if he could come stay with her. She said he arrived in Edmonton late on July 4, 2010 and was driving a tan truck with a red tidy tank in the back.

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“He looked terrible to me,” she said, “he just didn’t look well,” and told the investigator her brother looked to be about 140 pounds.

“I’ve never seen him look so skinny. His face was all sunken in.”

But Bobbi-Jo told the investigator she didn’t believe he was on drugs. She said he looked tired and needed to sleep. After two days at the home, he left and told her he needed to get back to work.

Bobbi-Jo said her brother was always “anti-drug” but, in the two years leading up to his arrest, he had changed.

“I blame it on the meth,” she told police.

In that same interview, Bobbi-Jo said she couldn’t see her brother being involved in the disappearance of Lyle and Marie McCann. She said her brother didn’t want to go back to jail and police wouldn’t get to him.

“He’d do himself in,” she said.

READ MORE: Travis Vader’s sister ruled a hostile witness 

Bobbi-Jo gave three interviews to RCMP but during her testimony last week she told court she doesn’t remember what she told police.

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She said she was addicted to crack-cocaine at the time and her statements were unreliable.

On Friday, Justice Thomas ruled the Crown could cross-examine Bobbi-Jo as a hostile witness because of inconsistencies in her statements about meth and guns.

READ MORE: ‘I plead not guilty to that charge’: Travis Vader at start of McCann murder trial 

Travis is facing two first-degree murder charges, accused of killing the McCanns.

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.

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