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Death in missing women’s case leaves Draayers’ mourning for foster daughter

Murder charges confirm worst fears

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

SURREY, British Columbia - A local Dutch Canadian family is mourning the death of their troubled foster daughter, one of the 50 listed in the Vancouver missing women case. Sereena Abotsway lived for thirteen years - from the age of four - with Bert and Anna Draayers, the foster parents who over the decades took into their home dozens of unwanted and often abused children. A 52-year-old loner - Robert William Pickton - who kept a junk yard and some pigs on his family’s farm property, has been charged with two murders, of which Abotsway is one. The case has attracted international attention.

All of the missing women were involved with street drugs and prostitution. Some have not been heard off since the late 1980s. Abotsway last spoke with the Draayers in July 2001. Although the Draayers disapproved of her lifestyle and feared she could meet with foul play, they had daily calls from her. During the last call Abotsway reconfirmed she planned to attend the birthday party the Draayers were organizing for her on August 20th. Weeks before that day however, the calls suddenly stopped coming with the agonizing parents phoning area hospitals in an attempt to trace her. Upon the advice of police, they reported her as a missing person.

High profile investigation

When the police turned up at the Draayers’ home recently to share news of the impending charges against Pickton, they immediately knew that their worst fears had become reality and that Sereena Abotsway never would return home. Although Abotsway is one of the most recent missing persons on the long list, she also is one of the first to be confirmed dead.

Sereena was the oldest of three siblings raised in the Draayers home. Her stepbrother took the Draayers surname, their (step)sister now is married with children. They all remained part of the Draayers family who have two children of their own and adopted four others.

The high profile police investigation of a team of 85 officers continues its painstakingly search of the Pickton farm property in nearly Port Coquitlam. So far only two murder charges have been laid. The police have not yet disclosed details of the murders and say they have hundreds of leads to follow up.

Among the other 48 missing women also is Sarah Jean deVries who as a baby was adopted into an East Vancouver Dutch Canadian family. She has been missing since 1998. DeVries leaves two children who now are being raised by their adoptive grandmother.