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Highway Of Tears - Colleen Macmillen murder (aerial)

WARNING!: Description below may be disturbing to some readers.



This 120m aerial view overlooks the gravel Davis Lake Road south of 93 Mile House, British Columbia.  It was along this road off in the brush where the body of 16 year old Colleen Macmillen was found.  More info below:


Colleen lived with her family near Lac La Hache & had disappeared in 1974 while hitchhiking on Highway 97 near Lac La Hache on her way to a friend's house on Timothy Lake Road.  She was last seen on August 9 at 8pm & was reported missing on August 11.  


Shortly afterwards an American tourist had stumbled upon her clothing intact along a pulloff at 102 Mile House & her body was later found in September 1974 beside Davis Lake Road some 46 kilometres south of where she was last seen.


Macmillen's death was one of a series of similar cases around Northern BC referred to as the Highway of Tears murders.  The Highway of Tears proper refers to Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) from Prince Rupert to Prince George, though Macmillen's murder is often associated with the name.  These cases involve young women who go hitchhiking along main highways to get from one place to another, simply because locations are remote & there are no other forms of mass transit available.  These women often enter unknown vehicles & become the victim of sexual assault & murder.  Many of the victims are found discarded along logging roads off main highways, however some of them remain missing to this day.  The Highway of Tears murders has been an ongoing issue since 1970 & it is clear that these murders are not the work of one individual.  Often the victims are women are First Nations.  Most of the cases have not yielded a killer(s).  For this reason, billboards & other public announcements heavily forbade hitchhiking in the region.


The case of Colleen Macmillen would however reach a breakthrough 38 years later in May 2012 when male DNA found on Macmillen matched to serial killer Bobby Jack Fowler.  Back in 1974, Fowler was working at Happy's Roofing, a now defunct roofing business in Prince George.  He was known to be 'rabbitting' around the US & Canada where he had a plethora of crimes including picking up hitchhikers.  While he was a proven suspect in murders in the US, he is strongly suspected to be involved in the deaths of Pamela Darlington & Gayle Weys in the Kamloops region.


Fowler was born in 1939 & had been in prison since 1995 after he attempted to kidnap & torture a woman at a hotel in Newport, Oregon.  She had escaped by jumping from the second story window w/ a rope still tied to her ankle.  In January 1996, Fowler was sentenced to 16 years & three months w/ the possibility of parole, however he would die of lung cancer at the Oregon State Penitentiary in May 2006.


Whether Highway of Tears or another highway in Northern BC, when one goes missing, they could be anywhere.  While Macmillen was found just off the road, this aerial view gives a sense of the vast wooded landscape that comprises the Interior Plateau, a needle in the haystack for finding a loved one.



Copyright: William L
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 18800x9400
Taken: 22/08/2023
Uploaded: 22/08/2023


Tags: highway of tears; davis lake road; highway 97; interior plateau; aerial; british columbia; woods; murder; homicide; solved; girls; hitchhiking; mount begbie lookout; crime scene; dna
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