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Highway of Tears documentary will take a new look at multiple serial killers theory

A still from the trailer for the film Hat'ak, a documentary on the Highway of Tears in B.C.
Image Credit: Contributed/Spaceburrito Produktions
June 03, 2016 - 1:00 PM

SQUAMISH, B.C. - A documentary currently in production is looking at the possibility of multiple serial killers preying on women along B.C.'s Highway of Tears.

Director Simon Hayter says Hat'ak will explore the idea multiple serial killers are responsible for the missing and murdered women along the section of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

“We’re exploring the thesis that this is multiple serial killers working independently in the same area,” he says. “In our initial research it’s an idea that’s been entertained by law enforcement.”

Up until now the most popular theory has been the disappearances are due to a single person, and Hayter doesn’t think the multiple killer idea has been explored journalistically. The film will include interviews supporting the idea from criminologists and law enforcement.

He says it will also take a more cinematic look at the subject matter than past documentaries.

A visceral documentary about the Highway of Tears hasn't been done before, Hayter says. He’s been working on stories about it for a few years, initially as a print and photo journalist. His trips to the scenes of the murders and disappearances gave him an eery feeling, something he doesn’t think has been shared through past stories.

“What’s missing from this story is a way to convey that the real horror of the it,” he says. “We’re shooting this movie in a way this subject matter has been treated in before.“

The documentary will look at the 18 missing and murdered women who are part of the RCMP E-PANA investigation and 17 others likely linked.

Part of the reason for the multiple killer hypothesis is the region itself, which Hayter describes as being ideal for serial killers and may draw them to the area.

“Any place that has that type of beauty has isolation,” he says.

There are policy and systemic reasons for the region to be the ideal home for killers as well, like the relationship between the communities and the police, and the lack of regional transportation.

The documentary's title Hat’ak is the Nisga’a word for evil. The title was chosen because the highway crosses Nisga’a territory and the sharp sound of the word, Hayter says.

The film's release date will depend on the schedule of the national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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