Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wendy Ladner-Beaudry: Murder on the Right Side of the Tracks


Wendy Ladner-Beaudry wasn't white trash.  

On Monday, the CBC website printed this about Friday's murder of Beaudry-Ladner in Pacific Spirit Park at UBC:

"Dozens of RCMP homicide investigators continued to scour a heavily forested urban park in Vancouver's west side on Monday, searching for clues in the killing of a jogger."

Dozens?

On Tuesday, Metro News printed this: "About 75 police officers are working around the clock to gather evidence and interview witnesses in the murder of Wendy Ladner-Beaudry, who was killed while jogging through Pacific Spirit Park."

Seventy-five police officers?  

If a woman on the Downtown Eastside, whether white or aboriginal, was murdered, there is no way there would be dozens of homicide investigators scouring the area for clues.  You wouldn't see that on the day of the murder and you wouldn't see it four days later.

Take the young white woman who was allegedly shoved out a window of the Cobalt Hotel during a dispute over drugs. A man who lived down the hall said a homicide detective knocked on his door and asked him if he had heard anything. He said he hadn't. But later he recalled that he had heard what sounded like a cat screeching and had peeked out the door.  He remembered too late though. That homicide detective was gone never to return.  And there weren't dozens of investigators combing the Cobalt for evidence.  

I can understand why women who live high risk lifestyles get less sympathy from the cops and the public when murdered than a straight-living jogger. I don't agree with it -- murder is murder -- but I can understand it; if you treat your own life like it's cheap, then expect other people to treat it as cheap too. But even if a straight woman living on the Downtown Eastside, not into drugs or the sex trade -- and there are many such women on the DES -- was found dead and bloodied in Crab Park like Wendy Beaudry-Ladner in Pacific Spirit Park adjacent to million dollar homes, do you think there would be "dozens" of homicide detectives scouring the scene for clues?  Then you're on drugs.

Another thing.  After the murder of Ladner-Beaudry, there was speculation that the attacker could have been a homeless man in the park.  A neighbor said she had seen an "unusual" looking man in the park who was unwashed and smelled. 

But police know that statistically women are more likely to be murdered by an intimate male partner than a stranger.  At the press conference yesterday, the victim's husband Michele Beaudry provided himself with an alibi.  "I was at Whistler having lunch", he said with a short laugh.  I'm not saying he was involved, but he knows he's being looked at.

11 comments:

reliable sources said...

Update:

After writing this post yesterday, I picked up this morning's Metro News and saw what could be interpreted as a Freudian slip by RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Peter Thiessen. When asked whether the massive investigation into Ladner-Beaudry's murder was due to the fact that she is from a big-name family, Thiessen responded: "A significant homicide took place here and we're responding to it."

"Significant".

So significant that 75 police officers were on the scene again Wednesday, day #6 since Friday's murder

Anonymous said...

The accusations you make are repugnant and callous. Don't disrespect a dead woman and her family because you disagree with how the police responded to her murder.

reliable sources said...

anonymous,

I think Wendy Ladner-Beaudry would agree with my post. She was a person who was working to create equal opportunity for low income women and their children, her focus being in the area of sport. She volunteered at a food bank and helped get running shoes for low income women so that they could participate in fitness activities.

I think she would see these women, if murdered, as deserving of the same level of police resources as her murder is receiving.

Anonymous said...

I live in the neighborhood, and I knew Wendy personally, I would like to point out that no one knows that happened, and that is why they are investigating. Also, The police dogs that searched the neighborhood found a homeless man on the street. The dogs went nuts. That is why they were being questioned.

Paul said...

reliable,

Having been close to Wendy, I know that she would have likely asked the same question about the coverage.

BUT....consider that this is a big story because there are several hundred thousand women using our city parks for recreation who are horrified at this event. They are thinking "that could have been me". Meanwhile, there are only several thousand women living in the DTES tangled in the prostitution and drug trade.

It's unfortunate economics: the press will print what sells papers, and every woman who thinks "that could have been me" will buy a paper. Sadly, once you do the math on how that works for a DTES resident being murdered, it does not sell as many papers.

And while Wendy would likely have the same thoughts as you, she would also be the first person to point out that the value of a human life is not measured by the volume of ink on paper.

truepeers said...

RS,

you're right, murder is murder; but keep in mind that the number of cops should also reflect the difficulty of the case.

Anonymous said...

The example you used was a woman who was "shoved out a window during a dispute over drugs". There was a motive, there was a reason, there was a cause. The only question unanswered was "who did it". In this incident the "what", the "WHY", the "when" and perhaps even the "where" is not defined. It takes much more of an investigation for these questions to be answered.
I work downtown Eastside and see the resources which are utilized for issues. Don't think for a moment that the police force is not in full action there!!!!

Anonymous said...

on the news today rcmp said they canvassed houses near Wendy's murder and spoke to 700 people

Anonymous said...

I was very upset by your post. I resented the comparison. But you are right to a degree. A straight living woman (or man for that matter) murdered in the downtown eastside deserves the same investigative efforts as anyone. I just don't understand why people need to shove comparisons in our faces. There doesn't seem to be any consideration for the person killed or their family; just an opportunity to point out perceived social inequity.

The Cobalt situation is a poor comparison in my mind because the individuals involved have already rejected society's rules. Why should society exhaust itself untangling their nasty web. They were participating in illegal acts so they deserve less of our resources. Honestly, I don't even care who committed that murder. It's one less drug user/seller to deal with.

But when a presumably "straight- living" woman is attacked and killed in a normally safe public park it does raise alarms. Hundreds of people use that park each day, not to sell drugs or practice prostitution but to get exercise, walk their dogs and socialize peacefully each day. Most women don't enter the park alone but now NONE can without very real fear.

Maybe part of the problem is that we desperately need to believe and preserve areas as safe in a city where so much has become almost forsaken. I was born and raise here, I've lived on the eastside and the westside as well as some suburbs and I definitely need to feel like there are areas that are "sacrosanct". Untouched by violence, drugs and all the other negative and destructive forces at work in this town. We used to shop at Army and Navy when I was a kid. Back then the people you saw were down and out, some were alcoholics, but I wasn't afraid. Now it has become a total hell whole, drugs everywhere. I actually worry that my shoes might be penetrated by a needle if I'm not careful of where I step.

I really don't think it is such a bad thing for people who make different choices in life to want and even expect to be able to feel safe.

DeTonART said...

[Thank you, Reliable Resources, for provoking important thoughts...]
Thanks also to 'Anonymous' (above, Apr.17) for provoking ME to write what follows: as the train rounds the bend...
To dismiss the incident of a woman who was SHOVED OUT OF A HOTEL WINDOW & KILLED with "I don't even care who committed that murder. It's one less drug user/seller to deal with" is so grossly callous & ignorant it makes Wendy Ladner-Beaudry's death doubly upsetting, all over again. WHY was this compassionate, unselfish person murdered & not someone this insufferably sure of their own superiority that they "resent" the "comparison"?
That such indifference toward another's life even EXISTS is an ugly indicator of the disjointed society we've ALL had a hand in creating - & can ALL lend a hand in healing...
You think you're blameless, Misc., & deserve to be spared not just the sight but the mere MENTION of distasteful things like "drugs" & "illegal" (never mind the mind-warping confusion, corruption, profiteering etc. on the part of 'legit' enforcers, lawmakers & the medical community that helped create this whack situation in the first place)?
You also decree from your throne that drug users/sellers "deserve less" than they already have (which is frequently next to nothing, plus the added shame if they live in the DTES of a filthy, enabling, neglectful environment that offers few recovery resources)? YOU think you have the right to pronounce judgment on others, & that your "clean living" somehow makes your life worth more? I couldn't agree less...
On the contrary, I see your attitude as an all-pervasive accelerant that keeps evil discord very much alive. The ease with which you discount & judge others reveals a willful lack of compassion/humanity symptomatic of a sick heart, a closed mind & a blind eye (to your own shortcomings as well as to others' value/virtues).
Unlike those on the fringes of, or rejected by, society - who get even LESS consideration/resources than you say they deserve, & who are ALL TOO AWARE of their faults/sins to the point of denying themselves, harming themselves & making themselves sick (i.e., they're about as humble as it gets) YOU, critical commentator, as a self-claimed "straight living" citizen operating freely WITHIN society, enjoy abundant opportunities to influence your community, communicate/interact with others & be considered, heard & respected. This makes your condescension, indifference & invective an even more potent mix of negativity, justified by the arrogance/pride that closed your mind & disconnected you from your soul, which insidiously infects society with deceptively damaging & far-reaching consequences...
Not only, then, does your narrow-mindedness NOT contribute to or help society (i.e., add to your worth), it drains out the goodness by dumping out your demons & directing your own dissatisfaction onto the distressed/weak. Such disregard for others' feelings - for starters - doesn't help; it only hurts.
For these reasons I would estimate, Anonymous #5, that your life's worth would be calculated comparatively well into the negative numbers, since you destroy/take more than you give, & therefore have become a burden rather than a benefit.
Wendy Ladner-Beaudry was beautiful & beneficial, which makes losing her that much more tragic.
I suggest you - & yes, the many like you - stop seeking targets at whom to point your critical fingers & turned instead to take hard looks in the mirror. Self-judgement is good for opening the mind & learning how not to judge - & helps if you want to be a more benevolent contributor to this life.
Wendy certainly was that. If we follow in her footsteps we might turn out O.K...

Terri Williams said...

If you have over a million dollars in your bank account, your murder would be 'significant' too.