A private investigator who’s been chasing leads on the Highway of Tears missing and murdered women’s cases for seven years now is taking on a new approach.
Ray Michalko of Valley Pacific Investigations is taking a page out of a University of Western Ontario professor’s book in hopes of solving at least one of the cases.
“I’m working on putting together a collaboration of a small group of people – four including myself – to travel north for a week and see what we can come up with on the official highway cases as well as that of Madison Scott’s Vanderhoof case,” said Michalko in an e-mail.
He’s adapting the idea from Faculty of Information and Media Studies professor Mike Arntfield at the University of Western Ontario, who is inviting his students to take part in an investigative society to examine cold cases.
Michalko’s group includes a writer from Washington state, a retired deputy sheriff, also from Washington, and a retired homicide investigator from California.
The trio is interested in volunteering their time and donating their expenses, said Michalko.
“I chose the new approach out of personal frustration with the lack of results and after seeing the [professor’s approach] thought ‘what a great idea,’” he said.
“All three have a lot of investigative experience, but from different backgrounds than mine, and so I also hope to use this as a personal learning experience,” said Michalko, about the three people he hopes to work with on the cases.
He declined to give their names at this time.
“As to what I hope comes out of all of this, I hope that at the very least, one of the cases gets solved,” he said.
Michalko is still planning how his new approach will work and he’s thinking of travelling to the northwest this spring but isn’t sure if he or one of his team will come to Terrace.
Michalko, an ex-RCMP officer, has been investigating the various cases along Hwy 16 since early 2006.
He began his own investigation into the missing women’s cases out of personal interest with a couple of theories and some extra time.
He has travelled to the north several times, talking to people here in Terrace, in Smithers and in Prince George to name a few places.