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October 27, 2017 9:37 pm

Highway of Tears Investigator Now Published Author

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 @ 5:59 AM

michalkoPrince George. B.C.- Searching for answers on the Highway of Tears  has become an obsession for Ray Michalko.

(Michalko  at right  with  his  book –  photo 250News)

For the past decade, the former RCMP member turned private investigator has been  focused on finding the person, or persons,  responsible for the disappearance  or murders  of women along the Highway 16 corridor.

It started with a small ad he placed in the Terrace Standard newspaper  not long after Tamara Chipman disappeared in  September of 2005. “A friend of mine said no one would respond,  but  it just opened up a flood of calls  and  the calls kept coming.”   While the volume of tips has dwindled  over the years,  he still gets  at least  one call or tip  every week.

Michalko has written a book on the subject, a book which examines the failings of the investigations of these cases, it’s an examination which has not won him any new friends among the RCMP ranks.

The title “Obstruction of Justice”  is a reference to  his experience with the RCMP  when he says he was cautioned by the Mounties that if he continued his  investigation he could face a  charge under the Criminal Code.

The book’s release comes  hot off the heels of the announcement of the  Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women,  but he says the time is   coincidental “I got the  contract with the publisher  before the  announcement of the inquiry,  I’ve been working on this  for 5 or six years.   Unless the publisher knew something I didn’t,  I don’t know.”

While he doesn’t expect to be  called to testify at the Inquiry,  he believes the publisher has sent copies of the book to  the Commissioners on that Inquiry.

Michalko’s book is highly critical  of the  way the investigations have been handled, both  by police and the Criminal Justice Branch.  He  hopes his book will  achieve three goals ” There have been  somewhere between forty and seventy reports done  with  hundreds of recommendations and nothing has ever happened.   I hope it ( the book) brings attention to that.” He says he also hopes the  book will  encourage the Justice  branch to   move forward on charges  as he says charges aren’t  laid  unless  there is a high likelihood of a conviction  “They want to have slam dunks,  they  want to be guaranteed of a conviction.”  He would also like to  see provincial legislation which makes it mandatory for the RCMP to use a computer program  which  can  identify cases  which have similarities.

“I think maybe there may  be a serial killer  responsible for a couple of the cases” says Michalko, “but other than that,  I  think  they ( the  victims) were just in the  wrong place at the wrong time, victims of a crime of opportunity.”

When asked  if thinks the cases will ever be solved,  Michalko is quick   to answer, “No,  not unless somebody comes forward and confesses.”

Although the book about  his search for answers is now complete,  that doesn’t mean  he  is giving up his search, “It’s my obsession.”

Michalko will be at Books and Company in Prince George on Friday  from 4:30 -7:30 to talk  about the book and  sign copies.


It’s a pretty crappy world that we live in when a private citizen is threatened with criminal charges for doing his own leg work on the highway of tears case. I would think that the RCMP would accept any help coming it’s way on this case.

    You should read the book and then connect the information the author provides with what a police force which has many cases under investigation can do and cannot do with informing anyone doing their own investigations on what they know.

    That is where the problem comes in. People such as the author would not know whether they have provided old information or brought in something new.

    Based on the author’s own book, his investigations of 10 years by speaking to families, combing suspected crime scenes, etc. he has not come up with a single additional solved case.

    One of the questions which has to be asked is who has paid for all his work. I suspect he was not intending to write the book at the onset of his work.

    Agree. Considering he was actually an RCMP officer at one time!He may be retired but one would think he would still have some connections with the RCMP today. Not all give up on their own after they retire. Not all retired RCMP close the book on what they have known for years.

      Actually we do not know what his function was as an RCMP officer and what cause him to leave after only 10 years.

      Unless he was a member of an investigative/forensic division, he would not have had the type of background needed to investigate murdered/missing person cases.

      The connection with the RCMP as far as confidential information goes stops when one leaves. Case work and progress about it is confidential. There cannot be any leaks of what is known and what is not known.

      Think about it.

I find this statement to be very interesting:

“I think maybe there may be a serial killer responsible for a couple of the cases” says Michalko, “but other than that, I think they ( the victims) were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, victims of a crime of opportunity.”

We have had numerous studies, inquiries, etc. and yet we still have young people, young aboriginal women/girls hitchhiking along Hwy 16, perhaps putting themselves in the wrong place, at the wrong time with the possibility that they may also become victims of a crime of opportunity!

No bus system will stop this practice!

Another inquiry will not stop this practice!

No warnings about the risk will stop this practice!

So, how do we stop this practice?

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, BAD people exist! They always have and they always will! They lie in wait, waiting for the “opportunity” to make someone a victim of their crime! Sadly, that’s just the way life is!

Where do we go from here? Yet another study, yet another inquiry, all looking for answers that just don’t exist!

While his book is probably critical of the RCMP investigation of these crimes, he also admits that he has not solved any of these crimes after all the years he has supposedly been investigating. So it appears other than being critical of the RCMP he has nothing new to contribute to this issue.

I tend to agree with Hart Guy. Even with all the people killed over the years people continue to hitch hike.

We now have a situation where it is illegal to pick up a hitch hiker, however it is not illegal to hitch hike. I sometimes wonder if people were allowed to pick up hitch hikers, perhaps some of these victims could have gotten a save ride to where they were going. Who knows??

    Palopu states; “We now have a situation where it is illegal to pick up a hitch hiker, however it is not illegal to hitch hike.” So what? This is nothing more than Conservative logic, something you should be able to follow Palopu… need examples?

    Harper Conservatives introduce a Prostitution Bill that makes it illegal to buy sex, but legal to sell it. Nigel Wright (Head of Harper’s PMO) offers a bribe which is a-ok with no charges laid, but the person who accepts that bribe (Duffy) gets investigated.

    See the double standard similarities?

The deaths and missing is just not about hitch hiking. The sad story has morphed beyond hitch hiking and the police information has shown most cases solved and native groups need to also look at their own groups.

I somewhat agree with seamutt. I don’t think it will matter what is offered to stop the hitch hiking. It will never stop.

So far there are buses and trains that have been spoken about from our governments etc.

I understand there are some that need help financially but there are many others that do not fit in the criteria below who require assistance also. Sound like discrimination?

Here is an article written by COLIN DACRE today: There is a proposed plan with VIA RAIL – would provide $5 service to at risk youth, elders and First Nations regardless of origin or destination along the route. The criteria for who would qualify for the $5 passes is still to be determined, as is the distribution – whether it be through the First Nations Health Authority or the communities themselves.

Separate discounted ‘Aboriginal Fares’ are also being mulled, at 33% less than regular fare.

We already know there were serial killers involved – Bobby Jack Fowler, Garry Taylor Handlen and Cody Legebokov

Please, someone, tell me where you find the law which states that hitchhiking is illegal in BC.

The BC Motor Vehicle Act is quite specific for those who understand the difference between a highway and a roadway.

A highway is the full right of way of any street, including streets in municipalities as well as provincial and national highways between cities, etc.

Roadways are the parts of a highway travelled by vehicles. Shoulders, if any, are adjacent to the roadways.

So, with that as a background in the use of English words, here is what the MVA states.

Pedestrian walking along highway

182 (1) If there is a sidewalk that is reasonably passable on either or both sides of a highway, a pedestrian must not walk on a roadway.

(2) If there is no sidewalk, a pedestrian walking along or on a highway must walk only on the extreme left side of the roadway or the shoulder of the highway, facing traffic approaching from the opposite direction.

(3) A person must not be on a roadway to solicit a ride, employment or business from an occupant of a vehicle.

(4) Except for a person who solicits a ride in an emergency situation, a person who contravenes this section commits an offence.

In other words, do not stand in the middle of the travelled portion of a highway to flag down a vehicle (impede traffic)…. except if you have an emergency.

In addition to the above, those who live in portions of Canada as well as many other countries that have “freeways’, “400 series highways in Canada, “expressways”, “autobahns.” etc. hitchhiking and pedestrians are prohibited due to safety on high speed divided and often very busy highways. Hitchikers will then congregate close to on ramps in order to travel by such roads.

More common ways to hitchhike is to get a ride from a place where vehicles stop, such as service stations, restaurants, roadside motels, etc. where people congregate and one is in a reasonable safe environment.

Rest stops are typically not very good unless there are lots of people around such as the size of rest tops one finds along US interstate highways.


A great info site for hitchhikers. This is what hitchhikers commented about PG to PR

Terrace – Stood here 1.5 days. Its called “Highway of Tears” because some 15 girls have been gone missing in the last few years while Hitchhiking. Finaly got taken by an American who had no idea. Worst spot in Canada to HH!

Kitwanga – every 15-60 minutes someone to the north (depending on the season). By far most of the people have to be in Kitwanga just at the other side of the bridge. to mention: hitchhiking next to a traffic sign “hitchhiking: is it worth the risk”

Meziadin – pretty rough to get in Stewart. You will have to hope for tourists! Be carefull for bears!

Prince George (hart hwy)- like other post said, walk north out of town. there are some bad things said about a serial killer trucker.

– Northbound, this is probably the best spot in a bad town. (Prince George has a problem with serial killers killing hitchhikers, so most people will think you’re crazy.) Across the street is the last gas station in town, so lots of people going north with stop. Odd, crazy locals, nice gas station workers.

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