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Ernie Crey helps others in sister’s memory

24 hours

As a child, Ernie Crey would change his little sister Dawn’s diapers and feed her pabulum.

Dawn was a member of what Crey said was a close family until they were split up. Later in life, she ended up living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Famous for a theatre of human suffering rarely seen in Canada, it was there where Crey said his sister is believed to have been a victim of Canada’s most prolific serial killer, Robert Pickton.

“He made the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver his hunting ground,” Crey said during an interview for a video series called Aftermath of Murder: Survivor Stories, released to coincide with National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, April 6-12.

Dawn’s DNA was found on Pickton’s Port Coquitlam pig farm. Pickton was convicted in 2007 of six counts of second-degree murder.

“It is horrifying to contemplate this, but it’s important that we understand this,” Crey said. “It speaks to the need for us to learn if we’re neighbours of such a person or a family member of such an individual.”

Crey is known for speaking out about how the Pickton case was handled and again reiterated that law enforcement must recognize and rectify the mistakes that allowed Pickton to continue his murders.

Crey also works with Alive, an organization that helps women in the Downtown Eastside, though he said it hasn’t helped him be at peace with what happened to his sister.

“I thought I owed it to the memory of my sister to go to the Downtown Eastside and take action to help change the circumstances down there,” he said. “Still there’s this perception, this acceptance of this idea that you can take impoverished women, white women, aboriginal women, and do with them as you wish. This is what we need to stop.”

Crey said those who have experienced the murder of a loved one should not hide away and find ways to get help with their grieving.





If you or someone you know has been affected by homicide go to the B.C. Victims of Homicide website at for resources and information on support groups.

Aftermath of Murder Survivor Stories is produced by Brent Stafford, Shaky Egg Communications Inc. and 24hrs Vancouver columnist.

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