The Forever Garden in South Surrey is dedicated to those whose lives are cut short. (Tracy Holmes photo)

A generation later, brutal murder of B.C. teen still resonates

Oct. 4 is 25th anniversary of brutal death of Pamela Cameron

Next Friday, Oct. 4, will mark 25 years since a brutal tragedy rocked the Semiahmoo Peninsula – the rape and murder of South Surrey teen Pamela Cameron.

While the crime is one forever cemented in the memories of those who knew and loved Cameron – and for many who lived in the community at the time – in the minds of many others, it’s decidedly less prominent.

“When I went to the school, no one remembered it,” said Bonnie Moy of the reaction received when she stopped by Semiahmoo Secondary recently to drop off a letter detailing plans to pay tribute to Cameron.

Moy sold Cameron’s family their home in the summer of 1994.

“It’s a generation now (since it happened).”

Cameron, 16, was grabbed off of 152 Street in broad daylight by convicted rapist Mitchell James Owen, a 40-year-old who was on parole from Kingston Penitentiary in Ontario; a freedom he was granted less than a year prior, after serving two concurrent 10-year sentences for rape and robbery.

Before grabbing Cameron, he stole a cellphone from a White Rock business and broke into an elderly couple’s home.

Cameron – a softball and rugby player who was described as “lively and fun” – was walking home when Owen struck, pulling her into the nearby brush.

The Grade 10 Semiahmoo Secondary student’s body was found by police dogs near 20 Avenue, mere paces away from the busy street she had been walking along. Her clothing was found about a block away.

The manhunt for her killer ended when Owen turned himself in. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for at least 25 years. He’ll be eligible to apply for release next month.

Cameron’s family had moved to Surrey from Milton, Ont. just two months prior to her killing.

Her death “shattered” the community, Moy – who was instrumental in the development of Realty Watch, a system formalized in the wake of Cameron’s murder that fans out alerts to real estate agents in the community – told Peace Arch News this week.

“Those of us who remember this tragedy, and still grieve the loss, want to remember Pamela Cameron.”

In an effort to ensure Cameron – who she was, what happened to her and all she inspired – isn’t forgotten, a memorial is planned for the 25th anniversary, Oct. 4, to be held at the Forever Garden, which was created in the teen’s memory.

Highlighted by a broken arch that symbolizes lives cut short, the garden is located immediately east of the South Surrey Arena (2199 148 St.). It is a peaceful place – one of benches, a water feature and plants.

Other initiatives developed in memory of Cameron included Lifesaver 1000, a 2004 effort led by late South Surrey Const. Marc Searle that trained 1,000 youth in first aid, and encouraged them to get involved in positive activities in their community. The goal was reached that same year.

Significant legal developments in the years after Cameron’s death included a move to require suspects in violent crimes to provide DNA samples – before, permission was needed – and, that Crown could apply to have someone declared a dangerous offender up to six months after sentencing. Previously, it had to be done at the time of sentencing.

Moy said next week’s memorial is planned as an informal event. Set for 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Peninsula politicians, as well as representatives of Surrey RCMP and local real estate boards have been invited to attend, Moy noted. Everyone is welcome.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Tracy Holmes photo The Forever Garden, adjacent to South Surrey arena.

Just Posted

Historic Hat Creek finds novel way to keep part of site open

VIP shopping experience offers people private visit to site’s gift shop

Ashcroft food bank benefits from donation as demand increases

Community Futures Thompson Country provides much-needed cash donation

Cariboo ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Time for some tick talk to keep people and pets safe from pests

Pesky creatures peak in June, but are out there lurking throughout summer and fall

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Most Read