(Bobby Jack Fowler, who died in jail at 66, is linked to B.C. murder. Lincoln County hand out photo)
By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
An Oregon convict who died in 2006 from lung cancer while serving a 16-year sentence for kidnapping, assault and attempted rape has been linked to at least one murder in British Columbia, unsolved cases along the Highway of Tears and four other murders in Oregon.
Bobby Jack Fowler was a suspect in “a number of homicides” in the U.S. and Canada between the 1970s and 1990s, according to Rob Bovett, Lincoln County, Oregon, District Attorney, who released a statement to APTN National News late Monday night.
Earlier this year, the RCMP, Oregon investigators and authorities from other jurisdictions began taking a deeper look at Fowler, who died at age 66, and his connection to several cold cases on both sides of the border, said Bovett, in the statement.
Oregon authorities have linked Fowler to at least four unsolved murders of teen girls.
Bovett released his statement after CBC News reported the RCMP had connected Fowler, through DNA, to the 1974 murder of Colleen MacMillen.
Investigators with Project E-PANA are expected to announce the development during a press conference scheduled in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. local time.
The RCMP will also be holding news conferences in Kamloops and Prince George, B.C., on Wednesday.
At least 18 women, the majority of them First Nation, have gone missing or been found murdered along the Highway of Tears, which mainly includes Hwy 16, but also the 5 and the 97, which run between Prince George and Prince Rupert,B.C. The cases, which date back to 1969, have remained unsolved. McMillen was last seen hitchhiking along the 97, CBC reported.
The RCMP said in a release that a call for help will be issued to B.C. residents, Canadians and U.S. residents
Fowler was convicted in 1996 for the 1995 for kidnapping, assault and attempted rape of a woman at the Tides Inn motel in Newport, Ore. The woman, who he met at the Anchor bar, escaped by jumping naked out of the motel’s second story window with a rope tied to her ankle.
Despite the sentence, which he served at the Snake River prison in Oregon, Fowler remained unrepentant and filed appeals to have his conviction overturned, according to a court document obtained by APTN National News.
“No kidnapping took place,” wrote Fowler in his handwritten U.S. Federal Court appeal filing.
“This guy was a violent, violent, nasty guy. Horrible,” Lincoln County District Attorney’s investigator Ron Benson told reporter Lori Tobias, of the Oregonian newspaper, who has investigated the cold cases for several years. “Even the Canadians…they’re going, ‘This is the worst guy we’ve ever dealt with.”