Sep 27, 2012 / 6:00 am
RCMP are looking into a possible connection between Bobby Jack Fowler and one of Okanagan's oldest unsolved murders.
E PANA investigators working on the murder and disappearance of 18 women in central and northern BC have concluded, through DNA evidence, that Fowler committed the 1974 rape and murder of 16-year-old Colleen MacMillen.
She was last seen hitchhiking to a friends house from her home in Lac la Hache.
At a news conference in Kamloops Wednesday, Castanet reporter Jen Zielinski asked if there was a link between an Okanagan cold case and Fowler.
Staff Sgt. Wayne Clary says police have looked into a connection between Fowler and a naked body found in a ditch up Chute Lake Road near Naramata in November, 1973.
"This could very well be linked to the Highway of Tears, but the starting point for that needs to be identifying who this woman is," says Clary.
The woman's body was discovered by two employees of the Canadian Pacific Railway working on a microwave project.
Her body was down an embankment in a heavily wooded area.
"Back in 1973 Chute Lake Road was a dirt road that was a very out of the way place."
Clary doesn't believe the woman was local, saying she may have been a fruit picker or a transient.
"The E PANA Missing Persons Unit is looking at the case to try and establish if there is a positive link between either the Highway of Tears or Fowler," added Clary.
"The key to getting this going is identifying this woman - this is a case that is begging to be solved."
A pathologist was unable to determine the cause of the woman's death, however, police have always considered the case suspicious.
The woman was believed to be in her early 20's, approximately 5'7", 140 to 150 pounds.
She had long, light brown hair.
Fowler, an American citizen had been known to cross the border into Canada.
While police are trying to determine a complete timeline they have determined he worked for a Prince George roofing company in 1974.
Investigators say Fowler was transient and would often take odd jobs in roofing or general labour.
Fowler is also considered a 'strong suspect in the murders of Gale Weys (October, 1973) and Pamela Darlington (November, 1973).
He died in prison six years ago at the age of 66 of cancer.
At the time of his death Fowler was serving a 16 year sentence for kidnapping, assault and attempted rape.
He was also a suspect in four murders in Oregon in the early and mid 1990's.
If you remember seeing or dealing with Fowler in the Okanagan in the early 70's, you're asked to call the dedicated tip line 1-877-543-4822 or Crime Stoppers
Read more South Okanagan News
- Rally to help Penticton children's festival May 10
- Nature festival returns to Okanagan May 10
- Dix praises Cannings in Summerland May 8
- Broken bones are part of toddler's life May 6
- Centre for owl rehab holds open house May 4