Here's Where Robert Pickton Is Now & What's Happened Since His Pig Farm Was Raided In 2002
Robert Pickton remains one of Canada's most prolific serial killers.
This February marks 21 years since police raided the pig farm of Robert Pickton – one of Canada's most prolific serial killers.
On February 6, 2002, police searched Pickton farm following reports of illegal firearms, but what they found became one of the largest crime scenes Canada has ever seen.
Robert William Pickton was later connected to the disappearances of many women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, and was charged with the murder of 26 victims.
Here's what we know about where Robert Pickton — known as the pig farm killer — is now and what's happened in the 21 years since he was arrested.
This article contains graphic content that might not be suitable for some readers.
Who is Robert Pickton?
Robert William "Willie" Pickton was born in 1949 and raised on a pig farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C.
The Toronto Star reports that as a child, Pickton spent long hours on the farm, slopping the pigs and looking after the animals.
According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, Pickton and his siblings later sold most of the family's property for urban development, leaving just 6.5 hectares of farmland.
As an adult, Pickton lived alone in a trailer home on the farm and maintained a small-scale livestock operation. Reports suggest he was socially awkward and "was known to have exhibited strange behaviours."
A 2002 report from The Globe and Mail suggests Pickton spent a lot of time with his older brother, David Pickton.
The duo was described as "eccentric party animals," known in the Port Coquitlam area for throwing illegal parties at the Pickton pig farm.
Together, they created the Piggy's Palace Good Times Society.
The Piggy's Palace Good Times Society
The Pickton brothers reportedly threw many wild parties at a property near their farm, which they called Piggy's Palace.
In 1996, they started a charity called Piggy’s Palace Good Times Society. By selling tickets to their parties and hosting events such as dances and shows, the brothers claimed to be raising money for service organizations, per The Canadian Encyclopedia.
There were reports of drug use, drunkenness and loud noise, with as many as 1,700 people thought to have attended the parties.
The city eventually cracked down on the operation following complaints from neighbours. Piggy's Palace was shut down in 2000, with the city arguing that the brothers were unlawfully selling liquor at an unlicensed establishment.
What were Robert Pickton's crimes?
On February 6, 2002, police executed a search warrant on the Pickton pig farm following reports of illegal firearms.
Both Robert and David were arrested on weapons charges, then released on bail.
During their search of the farm, police found a number of illegal and unregistered guns, but they also found many items that were connected to missing women.
The search of the Pickton farm lasted almost two years, and it became the site of the largest crime scene in Canada's history.
Among the police units involved in the search was a task force looking into the disappearance of 50 women who had gone missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside since 1983.
Investigators found the remains or DNA of 33 women at the pig farm, and evidence included personal belongings, body parts, bones and DNA samples.
Pickton was given the nickname "the pig farmer killer" as there were claims he had disposed of human remains by feeding them to his pigs or putting them in his meat grinder, BBC reports.
In 2004, B.C. health officials issued a statement to the public warning that human remains may have been mixed up in meat that came from the Pickton pig farm.
"Cross-contamination could mean that human remains did get into or contaminate some of the pork meat that was produced," reporters were told by a provincial health officer, per The Globe and Mail.
While Pickton was being held in a B.C. prison, he told an undercover RCMP officer that he had murdered 49 women in total, and had wanted to make it 50.
These gruesome details, in addition to the number of women believed to have been killed, makes Pickton one of Canada's most well-known and prolific serial killers.
Who were Robert Pickton's victims?
Robert Pickton was convicted for the murders of Marnie Frey, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Sereena Abotsway, Brenda Wolfe and Georgina Papin.
In 2007, he was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 25 years.
There were later attempts to charge him with the deaths of another 20 women, but the charges were stayed by the Crown as he was already serving the maximum possible sentence.
Global News reports that suspected victims include Janet Henry, Mary Ann Clark, Diana Melnick, Cara Louise Ellis, Tanya Holyk, Andrea Borhaven, Sherry Irving, Helen Hallmark, Cynthia Feliks, Kerry Koski, Inga Hall, Sarah Jean de Vries, Angela Jardine, Jacqueline (Jackie) McDonell, Wendy Crawford, Jennifer Furminger, Tiffany Drew, Dawn Crey, Debra Jones, Patricia Johnson, Yvonne Boen, Heather Chinnock, Heather Bottomley and Diane Rock.
Pickton was believed to have targeted Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, specifically sex workers and other vulnerable women. Many of his victims were Indigenous women, some had drug addictions or mental health issues, as reported by CBC.
Police in the area have been accused of failing to pay enough attention to the number of women who went missing in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, with families of the victims suggesting police ignored vulnerable victims due to their lifestyles.
A 2012 government inquiry into the police's handling of Pickton case found that there were "blatant failures" by police, whose prejudice against sex workers and Indigenous women led to a "tragedy of epic proportions."
Is Robert Pickton still alive?
Yes, Robert Pickton is still alive and remains in prison in Canada.
He is 73 years old.
Where is Robert Pickton now?
As of February 2023, Robert Pickton continues to serve a life sentence in prison.
In 2018, CBC News reported that he was transferred out of B.C. to the Port-Cartier maximum security prison in Quebec.
A few years earlier, in 2016, an autobiographical book titled Pickton: In His Own Words was published and offered for sale via Amazon. Allegedly written by the killer himself, it was later withdrawn from sale following public outrage.
The Pig Farm documentary
The Pig Farm is a 2011 documentary about Robert Pickton's crimes and why it took so long for police to capture and convict Canada's most prolific serial killer.
As of February 2023, it is not available to watch on Netflix in Canada, although it is available for purchase via other streaming services.
A recent report from The Globe and Mail suggests that an upcoming American movie – The Pig Farmer – may have been inspired by the crimes of Robert Pickton.
According to promotional materials related to the movie, "this spectacularly brutal story is actually inspired by real events."
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.