Bobby Jack Fowler in 1972.

One Highway of Tears murder attributed to dead convict, but more may be linked

RCMP are asking for the public's assistance to further track the movements of a suspected killer who may have been operating in the area.

RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance to further track the movements of a suspected killer who may have been operating in the area.

Bobby Jack Fowler is now being linked with the murder of 16-year-old Colleen MacMillen from Lac la Hache in 1974. The teen went missing after leaving to hitchhike to her friend’s house via Highway 97 and was later found dead near 100 Mile House.

Until now, the case was one of a number of unsolved cases along highway corridors in the north and interior of British Columbia being investigated by Project E-PANA, a task force formed in 2005.

E-PANA was looking at 13 unsolved murders and five missing women cases along highways 16, 97 and 5 between 1969 and 2006.

It was DNA evidence which has led RCMP to the conclusion Fowler was the man responsible for MacMillen’s death, with new technology making it possible to get a sample and DNA profile good enough to provide to INTERPOL for international database searches.

This case is reportedly the oldest DNA match in INTERPOL’s history.

Fowler, a United States national, born in Texas, died at age 66 in an Oregon prison in 2006. According to RCMP, he had an “extensive violent and criminal history with convictions in several American states for crimes including, attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, sexual assault, arson, kidnapping, attempting sexual assault and firearm offences.”

Fowler passed away in the prison of natural causes while serving a sentence for a violent attack on an Oregon woman in 1995.

RCMP are still trying to trace Fowler’s movements throughout the past four decades, and have confirmed he worked in the Prince George area in 1974.

Fowler was working as a roofer for Happy’s Roofing at the time.

A man who traveled over large areas, often in short periods of time, stayed in motels or rented and drove old cars until they quit.

Fowler reportedly was violent towards both men and women and frequented bars and restaurants and picked up hitchhikers.

Anyone who worked with, socialized with, or had any contact with Fowler is asked to come forward to help RCMP trace his movements and possibly connect him to other unsolved cases.

RCMP are considering Fowler a person of interest in nine other E-PANA investigations.

In particular they are looking at the murder of Gale Weys from Clearwater, who disappeared on Oct. 16, 1973 and whose body was found six months later, and Pamela Darlington, from Kamloops, found murdered on Nov. 7, 1973. Both women were 19 years old at the time.

Anyone with any information on Fowler or who may have come in to contact with him can call the E-PANA tip line at 1-877-543-4822 or Crimestoppers.

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