Most of the victims – and there could be as many as 60 – are thought to be prostitutes. Some have been missing for up to 19 years.
Robert Pickton, a 53 year-old farmer faces 15 counts of first-degree murder. Most of the victims were sex-trade workers from Vancouver’s seedy downtown Eastside.
At a nationally televised press conference on Sunday, Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Catherine Galliford said that police had moved 52 investigators and soil sifting equipment to a native reserve in Mission, British Columbia.
Initial searches took place on Pickton’s property in Port Coquitlam, a suburb of British Columbia on Canada’s west coast.
The probe at Pickton’s property is continuing with a similar number of anthropologists, still involved in digging up Pickton’s farm in search for more victims, said Galliford.
Apart from that, Galliford said she was unable to go into much detail.
“Because this an ongoing police investigation, we are not able to go into any detail as to what that evidence is or how it pertains to our investigation,” she told reporters.
However, she said that the painstaking probe of top soil at the new site followed recently uncovered evidence in the search for the still unaccounted for 45 missing women whose remains or whereabouts still remain a mystery.
Evidence from the investigation of his property led to Pickton first being charged with 15 murders in early 2002.
His preliminary hearing, which began in January, is almost over. Final arguments from Crown and defence lawyers were scheduled to begin Monday. A judge’s ruling on whether Pickton will stand trial is expected later in the week.