Did you live in Clearwater in the fall of 1973?
Did you happen to meet a man named Bobby Jack Fowler? A photo from that time shows a man in his mid-20s, dark haired, slim, not unattractive. He worked as a roofer or general laborer – and there was plenty of construction going on in Clearwater at that time.
Possibly he was driving a flashy looking 1961 Chrysler Imperial, which he is known to have owned in 1974. He was quite sociable and enjoyed spending time in restaurants and bars. If you were hitchhiking and needed a ride, he likely would pick you up. Bobby Jack was quite the charmer.
He also apparently killed young women. Based on DNA evidence, police now believe he was responsible for the murder of 16-year-old Colleen MacMillen near 100 Mile House in 1974.
MacMillen’s body was later found beside a logging road 46 kilometers south of where she was last seen.
He also might have killed 19-year-old Gale Weys (pictured at left), who disappeared from Clearwater on Oct. 16, 1973. Weys was on her way to her parents’ home in Kamloops after working her shift at a local garage. She had been working two jobs in Clearwater as she saved money for a trip to Mexico.
Her decomposing corpse was found nine miles south of Clearwater on April 6, 1974.
“We sure would like to get as much help as we can on this,” said Staff Sgt. Wayne Clarey, the team commander of Project E-PANA.
“We’d like to hear from anyone who saw Bobby Joe Fowler or anyone who associated with him.”
Fowler might have been working in the Clearwater area at the time, Clarey said, or he might have simply been passing through.
He is known to have worked for Happy’s Roofing in Prince George in 1974, but the records are incomplete. The company did jobs in Kamloops and in Clearwater, and bought supplies in Clearwater.
Clarey noted that the company’s regular drivers, who do not remember Fowler being with them, did the purchases.
Thirteen members of Gale Weys’ family took part in a recent news conference in Kamloops to ask the public for information leading to the girl’s killer.
Several of the original investigators were also there, said Clarey.
All of the police who were involved in the missing women cases say they have never forgotten the experience, the staff sergeant reported.
Some of those who had been at the recovery scene for Colleen MacMillen’s body had tears in their eyes when they learned that her killer had been identified.
“It’s the good work that they did that we’re working from,” Clarey said.
DNA supplies missing link
Interpol linked DNA found with MacMillen’s body to Fowler, who died in a U.S. prison in 2006.
The MacMillen case is one of several included in Project E-PANA, which began in the fall of 2005. The Task Force was created as a result of the BC RCMP Criminal Operations ordering the review and investigation of a series of unsolved murders with links to Highway 16 – sometimes better known as the “Highway of Tears.”
Project E-PANA is comprised of 18 cases involving 13 homicides and five missing women investigations. The cases range in date from 1969 to 2006 and involve women and girls who were involved in hitchhiking or similar activities, and were last seen or were found within a mile from three B.C. highways – Hwy 16, Hwy 97 and Hwy 5.
Fowler has been eliminated from as a suspect in eight of E-PANA files. However he remains a person of interest in the remaining cases.
These include Gale Weys and 19-year-old Kamloops resident Pamela Darlington, who was murdered and found in Pioneer Park on Nov. 7, 1973.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the local RCMP detachment at 250-674-2237 or the E-PANA tip line at 1-877-543-4822.