Highway of Tears Investigator Now Published Author
(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.