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Sherri McLaughlin went missing from Kamloops BC on September 19th 1993 while riding here bicycle to a friends place.
Her bike and backpack were found on the side of the road. Foul play was suspected since the beginning of the search.

After all these years we have not been able to find the valuable peace of information that will help locate her. Somebody somewhere knows the whereabouts of Sherri McLaughlin. Please help us find Sherri.

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Suspect in woman's disappearance has long history of violent attacks on women Print E-mail

Daniel Robert Dow, declared a dangerous offender in 1999, is serving an indefinite prison sentence
By Neal Hall and Lori Culbert
source: Vancouver Sun

September 18, 2009

The prime suspect in the unsolved 16-year-old case of a missing Kamloops woman has three convictions for rape and a criminal history of violent assaults against women going back to 1977.

Daniel Robert Dow, who was twice released on parole after violent attacks against women, was later declared a dangerous offender in 1999, at age 40.

The RCMP held a press conference in Kamloops Thursday to publicly ask the suspect in Sherri McLaughlin's 1993 abduction to show compassion to her family by revealing her whereabouts.

Investigators refused to name the man because they do not yet have enough evidence to have him charged.

However, The Vancouver Sun has learned the suspect -- described by police as someone with a lengthy record for violent sexual offences -- is Dow.

After Dow served time for a rape he committed in 1977 -- when he was 18 years old -- he was released on parole May 26, 1981, but the next day he raped an acquaintance.


[Stephen McLaughlin, 17, looks on during a news conference in Kamloops on Thursday. A picture of Sherri McLaughlin and Stephen as a one-year-old hangs in the background. Photograph by: Bill Keay, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Sun]


His parole was then revoked and a seven-year sentence was added to his earlier sentences.

He was released on parole again on July 23, 1992.

The next year, on Sept. 19, 1993, McLaughlin, 20, mysteriously disappeared while riding her bike to an ex-boyfriend's house in Kamloops.

Police found the young woman's damaged bicycle and backpack by the side of the road, but never found her body.

Three years later, on March 30, 1996, Dow was nabbed again after he broke into the home of a Campbell River woman.

Armed with a knife, Dow burst into the house while the woman was putting her year-old baby to bed. When she tried to intercept the knife as Dow pointed it towards her throat, her finger was seriously sliced.

Unable to find more than coins in a piggy bank, Dow tied the woman's hands and decided to kidnap her.

"I was drunk enough and desperate enough that I just felt like, you know, I could phone somebody and, you know, they'd give me, like a thousand dollars, and I could drop her off and, you know, that would be the end of it," Dow testified at his trial on charges of kidnapping, assault with a weapon and break and enter.

Once he had the woman in his van, he choked her and struck her in the face, breaking her nose. She managed to escape out the passenger side when he let go of her neck.

For those crimes, Dow received concurrent sentences of four, three and five years.

But the Crown sought to have Dow declared a dangerous offender, citing similar criminal attacks on women:

- On July 5, 1977, Dow knocked at the door of an 18-year-old Prince George woman on the pretext of using the phone. He raped her. He told police he had been drinking to excess and went driving rather than return home to face his wife's wrath.

- Less than two months later, Dow tried the same thing in Prince George, but the victim pulled a knife on him and he escaped.

- Later the same night, he knocked on the door of a 16-year-old girl on the pretext of knowing a neighbour. He raped the girl.

Dow was sentenced to an eight-year prison term -- three years for rape of the 18-year-old and five years consecutive for the rape of the 16-year-old.

At his trial for the attack on the Campbell River woman in 1996, the court heard how Dow offered this explanation to the RCMP: "I intended to drive home and I started thinking about how I was going to find the money to get back and forth to work next week.

"And I started thinking of the news I'd been hearing about all these people . . . doing home invasions, and I thought, well, maybe I can just, you know, just pop into a house and get some money and keep going for the next week."

The trial judge, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dean Wilson, said at Dow's trial that he was not sure the evidence established a pattern of persistent, aggressive behaviour.

The judge declined to declare Dow a dangerous offender.

But the Crown appealed, arguing Dow had established a pattern of violent behaviour aimed at women and treatment to stop curb his violent tendencies had failed.

B.C. Court of Appeal Justice John Lambert, writing a unanimous opinion, ruled that Wilson erred in law when he said it was a necessary part of the pattern that the victim in every incident "must have been identified by Dow for the purposes of venting his rage against a person of the female gender."

Lambert concluded it was enough that all the victims were female and were violently assaulted in similar circumstances.

Dow appealed his dangerous offender status, which carries an indefinite prison sentence, to the Supreme Court of Canada. But on Sept. 23, 1999, the court dismissed his appeal.

Dow is serving his sentence in a Fraser Valley prison.


WHAT IS A DANGEROUS OFFENDER?

The first "habitual offenders" act was adopted in Canada in 1947 to address repeat offenders convicted of three criminal offences. Such an offender, and later on, an offender who was a "criminal sexual psychopath," could be imprisoned indefinitely.

Feeling that the applicable regime did not adequately protect the public, the Criminal Law Amendment Act was introduced in 1977, creating the dangerous offender category.

In 1997, the long-term offender category was introduced in order to monitor these offenders in the community on a long-term basis because, even though they presented a risk of re-offending, they could not be delared dangerous offenders.

In 2008, the federal government introduced new legislation, the Tackling Violent Crime Act, which tightened the rules that apply to dangerous offenders. It established a presumption that a person who had committed three serious offences was a dangerous offender.

The act also brought in the option of imposing an indeterminate (open-ended) sentence or a determinate sentence of, say, 15 years.

Once a person is declared a dangerous offender and an indeterminate sentence is imposed, the offender still is eligible to apply for day parole after four years in prison and for ordinary parole after seven years.

If a dangerous offender continues to present an unacceptable risk for society, they will stay in prison for life.

Dangerous offenders released on parole are monitored for the rest of their lives.

 

- Article Souce at www.vancouversun.com

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