RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance to further track the movements of a suspected killer who may have been operating in the area.
Bobby Jack Fowler is now being linked with the murder of 16-year-old Colleen MacMillen from Lac la Hache in 1974. The teen went missing after leaving to hitchhike to her friend’s house via Highway 97 and was later found dead near 100 Mile House.
Until now, the case was one of a number of unsolved cases along highway corridors in the north and interior of British Columbia being investigated by Project E-PANA, a task force formed in 2005.
E-PANA is looking at 13 unsolved murders and five missing women cases along highways 16, 97 and 5 between 1969 and 2006.
It was DNA evidence which has led RCMP to the conclusion Fowler was the man likely responsible for MacMillen’s death, with new technology making it possible to get a sample and DNA profile good enough to provide to INTERPOL for international database searches.
This case is reportedly the oldest DNA match in INTERPOL’s history.
Fowler, a man born in Texas, died at age 66 in an Oregon prison in 2006. According to RCMP, he had an “extensive violent and criminal history with convictions in several American states for crimes including, attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, sexual assault, arson, kidnapping, attempting sexual assault and firearm offences.”
Fowler passed away in the prison of natural causes while serving a sentence for a violent attack on an Oregon woman in 1995.
RCMP are still trying to trace Fowler’s movements throughout the past four decades, and have confirmed he worked in the Prince George area in 1974.
Fowler was working as a roofer for Happy’s Roofing at the time.
A man who traveled over large areas, often in short periods of time, stayed in motels or rented and drove old cars until they quit.
Fowler reportedly was violent towards both men and women and frequented bars and restaurants and picked up hitchhikers.
Anyone who worked with, socialized with or had any contact with Fowler is asked to come forward to help RCMP trace his movements and possibly connect him to other unsolved cases.
RCMP are considering Fowler a person of interest in nine other E-PANA investigations.
In particular they are looking at the murder of Gale Weys from Clearwater, who disappeared on Oct. 16, 1973 and whose body was found six months later, and Pamela Darlington, from Kamloops, found murdered on Nov. 7, 1973. Both women were 19 years old at the time.
The Weys family read a statement after the RCMP announcement, asking anyone who may have information to help provide some closure for the death of Gale Weys:
“As a family we truly never thought this open wound would be resolved in any way; we had given up hope.”
“If you have any memories of this man Fowler or recollections of these events please contact the police tip line or crime stoppers. Perhaps you found her clothing and didn’t understand what you had found; perhaps you met or worked with this man. Perhaps he assaulted you in some way, made you feel uncomfortable or maybe he was involved in a bar fight. Anything could be hugely helpful, even if you are not 100 per cent certain it’s truly related, or you think it’s just trivial. If fear has kept you silent, Fowler can no longer hurt you in any way, so please come forward. For our family and other families that are going through the loss of a loved one there is still that uncertainty of not knowing; questions and emotions left hanging. If you can help in any way please do so for Gale and all the other women.”
Anyone with any information on Fowler or who may have come in to contact with him can call the E-PANA tip line at 1-877-543-4822 or Crimestoppers.