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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Have a letter? Email editor@wltribune.com
LETTER: B.C. mine permitting process needs to change to avoid layoffs

I can’t believe a permit to reopen Gib East Pit has been delayed again.

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

Williams Lake Fire Chief Erick Peterson said his department along with other fire departments in the region will be doing some wildfire urban interface training on Sunday, May 9 in the Williams Lake area. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Wildfire urban interface training slated for Williams Lake area Sunday, May 9

Williams Lake, Quesnel, Miocene and 150 Mile House fire departments participating

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read