Advertisement

Charges laid 26 years after Vancouver woman found murdered in DTES dumpster

(Original air date: March 4, 1993) The body of 23-year-old sex worker was found in a dumpster near East Hastings Street.

B.C. RCMP say they have made an arrest in the 26-year-old unsolved murder of a 23-year-old Vancouver woman.

Vicki Black, a Vancouver sex worker, was found dead in a dumpster on East Hastings on March 4, 1993, according to police.

READ MORE: Women working in Vancouver sex trade were seen as ‘disposable,’ inquiry hears

Police said Stephen Laroche was arrested in Oakville, Ont., with the help of Hamilton police, and appeared in a Vancouver court on Friday.

Laroche has been charged with second-degree murder.

Chief Supt. Manny Mann, officer in charge of E-Division’s Major Crime Section, said the break came as a result of a police review of old files to determine if modern techniques or new information can shed light on them.

Victims’ families say B.C. serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec prison
Victims’ families say B.C. serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec prison

“In this instance, a Vancouver Police Department review led to the file being referred to the Provincial Unsolved Homicide Unit — an integrated provincial team,” said Mann in a media release.

Story continues below advertisement

“Unsolved Homicide investigators were able to take the work that had been done by VPD to identify a suspect, and continued that work to gather enough evidence to support charges.”

READ MORE: Washington man handed 2 life sentences for killing B.C. couple in 1987

Black’s murder came in the midst of an epidemic of sex worker killings on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

A Global News report at the time pointed to at least 26 such murders in the five years before Black’s.

Findings of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report to be released
Findings of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report to be released

In 2002, serial killer Robert “Willy” Pickton was arrested, and an investigation found the DNA of 33 women on his Port Coquitlam property.

Pickton was eventually convicted of murdering six sex workers.

READ MORE: How DNA techniques could identify the young victims in Vancouver’s longest-running cold case

Black’s family released a brief statement thanking investigators for sticking with the case.

“Vicki was a loving daughter, sister, mother, and friend,” said the family statement.

“Her family wish to thank the members of the Provincial Unsolved Homicide Unit and all those involved in the investigation that has led to this arrest.”

Story continues below advertisement

Laroche is due back in court on Monday.