The Tragedy of Marnie Frey

.                                                  Marnie and daughter Brittney around the same age

Sadly, the name Marnie Frey, in B.C. anyways, is synonymous with drug addiction, prostitution, “missing women” and a pig farm in Port  Coquitlam (my home town as a matter of fact) where her DNA was found, years after the police ignored her mother’s pleas that her daughter was missing, years after her own mother tried to scale the fence of the pig farm after doing investigative work the police wouldn’t do.

“That night when I went there, when I was backing out of the driveway, I had a very weird feeling,” Frey said. “My heart was pounding and I thought at first it was just because I was having anxiety attacks, but I guess it wasn’t really an anxiety attack. It was a reality check. She was there.”
Frey said after her first visit to the farm, she returned there every time she travelled to Vancouver from Campbell River, B.C.
Why wouldn’t they investigate a missing girl who grew up in Campbell River, the daughter of a well-known fisherman, a girl who loved animals, made her gruff dad have a funeral for a dead rabbit, who was known to be generous with her time and her love, a young mother with a five year old daughter?
Well, that’s easy, she was a prostitute.
I knew Marnie Frey. I was a counselor at the middle school she attended and we had many meetings where we talked about her troubles with authority, boys, school, not fitting in but mostly we talked about our shared love of animals. It was one of the few times I would see her smile. One of the few times her eyes lit up and she was clearly transported to a warm place in her soul where she belonged, where she felt love, where she felt peace. It was her respite.
I lost touch with her when she moved on to high school. She got pregnant sometime after and got in with the wrong crowd, ending up on the downtown east side and eventually addicted to heroin. She had to pay for her addiction so she did that with her body. Despite being out of it a lot of the time, as I would be too if I was in that situation, she called home regularly, she asked how her daughter was doing in the care of her parents, she was interested and engaged, calling home was not a chore for her and was for no other reason than to grasp onto the bond of family, with both hands, if even for ten minutes once a week. She never missed a call until she went missing.
What Marnie was and what Marnie did are two completely different things, but sadly, society, law enforcement, the courts, medical people, only saw the sex-selling, emaciated,, pock marked complexioned pasty looking “drug addict” and not the young mother from a small town, who, as high as she got, still had compassion and a sense of humor and cared about everybody, most notably her daughter Brittany. But to everyone other than her friends and family, she was worthless because of what she did. That overshadowed, to the narrow bigoted minds, to the professionals who were there to protect and serve, who she was.
And there were any more like Marnie, who died alone, in a gruesome, horror-movie style, at a stinky, dark, slop-filled pig butchery, cut up into pieces, by a psychopath who put her through a chipper.
In December 2007, a decade after Marnie Frey disappeared, Robert Pickton was convicted of murdering her and five other women. The remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his farm.
Brittney Frey was five years old when her mum was murdered.
Brittney is suing both the serial killer and his brother, the Crown, the Vancouver police and the RCMP for her death.
Measuring the value of a human life is no easy matter. Measuring the pain and suffering of the victim’s child should rest, in large part, on the circumstances of their death.
Marnie was not a stay-at-home mom, She didn’t have a well paying job or much prospect of bettering herself in the future. She was messed up. But she made sure she did not take her daughter down that path. She made sure her daughter was safe, and loved.
It is possible she could have rehabilitated herself and come home to her very supportive and loving parents, Rick and Lynn, and used her daughter as the motivation to get better and do well. Many recovering addicts say it was the love for their children that put them on a better path.
We will never know where Marnie could have been today.
But Marnie’s worth should not be determined by her situation at the time of her murder.
Whatever took her down the path that ultimately led to her meeting Robert Pickton should not be considered at all when the lawsuit is heard.
It is the path her daughter has been on since that counts the most.
The parent-child bond is the most fundamental of all human ties. When your mother dies, that bond is torn. When she is murdered in the most gruesome and tragic of ways, that bond is blown up into a million bloody pieces of anger, guilt, regret, terror, and profound sadness that will haunt Brittney Frey for the rest of her life.
Brittney has been bullied, her mother mocked, justice was screwed up, her missing mother was dismissed like a rat in an alley by professionals who were supposed to be there to protect and serve. The shame of that is immeasurable and there is no price anyone would accept to walk in the shoes of Brittney Frey.
Let’s hope justice is served this time.
Until next time, count your blessings
Sian Erith Thomson
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