The Dark Side of Cloverdale, British Columbia

In the summer of 2019, I went on the Cloverdale Ghost Walk, a walking tour around the downtown area that focuses on the dark side, some of the bad and unfortunate things that happened in Cloverdale. Most of which happened long before I was born.

So let’s fast forward!

When I look at my Grade 1 photo, three boys, out of a class of thirty kids, were involved in other people dying. Before their time, if you get my drift.

None of their stories were part of the Cloverdale Ghost Walk.

Here’s a little bit about the dark side of Cloverdale since I’ve been alive.

BM

When I was in Grade 10 at Cloverdale Junior High School, the biggest story surrounded one of my classmates.

Let’s just use his initials because he was a minor at the time.

I’ve known BM since Grade 1. He’s in that class photo. He was in most of my classes at elementary and junior high school. A smart boy who also had a bit of a temper. Not violent, just loud and insulting when he got mad type of temper.

Cloverdale’s a small town, or at least when I was growing up here, so a story like this spreads fast. Even in the days before social media! BM and his brother B got into an argument in a friend’s back yard after school one day. BM picked up a knife to make a point about something. Literally and figuratively. I don’t think he intended to kill his brother. After he stabbed him, he ran off and hid. The police found him later that night.

Meanwhile my friend’s brother started artificial resuscitation on B, but he couldn’t be saved.

BM was off school for about 10 days and then he showed up at class again. There was no jail time, though I’m sure he was on parole and going to a counselor.

Dale

I met Dale in Grade 1, which he was taking for the second time around. He was always the tallest kid in the class. His sister was also in the same grade, my age, and her and I were somewhat friendly. We were never close buddies, we had other friends we hung out with, but we didn’t have any issues or disagreements going on. We did gymnastics and our mothers alternated driving us to the class.

This horrible incident happened in 1992, long after we’d finished school.

I guess my classmates like knives. Dale stabbed two women to death and then drove to a park and fell asleep in his car. A man walking his dog spotted him, the blood, and a knife on the seat, and called the police, thinking he was dead or injured.

The two women who were killed had young children so this was a huge tragedy. Dale got sentenced to 10 years in jail, and he probably was out in a third of that time on good behavior due to overcrowding in the jail system.

This was a drug deal gone bad. The women were selling drugs, some sort of argument broke out, and Dale was probably stoned at the time. Or at least that was his defense. It’s too bad the way the courts look at things. Two women were murdered, but they were drug dealers, so no biggie apparently. Usually murder charges carry a minimum sentence of 20 years before the offender can apply for parole. In other words, in Canada, a “life” sentence usually isn’t. He was convicted of manslaughter. He even appealed his sentence saying it was unfair and excessive. Incredible!

It’s hard to find old news stories, but I have a couple of links if you’re interested.

https://openparliament.ca/debates/1994/4/15/randy-white-1/only/

http://www.caveat.org/publications/sw/sw_1996_vol_III.html

Both the above articles are part of other news items. I did a search for “Hicks” (Control F) and the story is under “the cocaine made me do it” defense.

My landlords actually know him. Dale’s kids were in school with their grandkids so they’ve seen him a few times.

Small world, hunh?

And yes, if you want to commit a crime, come to Canada. Home of the slap on the wrist for committing double murder.

Doug

Another fellow in my Grade 1 class photo is Doug, and out of the three boys from my Grade 1 class, I knew him the best. He lived around the corner and we always went to each other’s birthday parties until we reached that age where we only did all boy or all girl parties.

Doug was convicted of killing his pregnant wife, his 10 year old daughter, and attempted murder of his son, who was about 8 at the time. I have a hard time believing he did it, but he did some stupid moves, like immediately leaving the funeral and heading over to Vancouver Island to spend time with his girlfriend. A few months later the police did a Mr. Big sting and arrested him after getting a confession on hidden camera.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/mr-averages-1997-slayings-show-brutality-isnt-always-predictable/article959049/

This murder happened in Mission, about a 45 minute drive from Cloverdale.

The first two murders were in Cloverdale.

Clover Inn

One of the larger buildings in Cloverdale is (was) the Clover Inn. This is a two story building with hotel rooms on the second floor. The lower floor held probably the ritziest restaurant in town when I was a kid. There were two entrances. One for men only and the other marked “ladies with escorts”. Yup I still remember that. Sexism is alive and well in Cloverdale!

There was a bar and a coffee shop in the building that were more casual than the “fine dining” restaurant.

Over the years they got rid of the fine dining label and the escorts entrance and turned into a casual dining restaurant. I remember going there once because they had specials on steak sandwiches and my boyfriend back in the 80s and I were joining friends there for lunch. I’m a vegetarian so that special didn’t interest me, but they had a salad bar and I went for that. All I can remember is my boyfriend saying my lunch cost twice as much as his did!

The hotel rooms morphed into SRO, a term in this province for single room occupancy which are usually rented to lower income individuals. There were a lot of people with mental and/or physical health issues living in these rooms. I’m not sure how that worked because generally these are people who need assisted living but those type of residences close down and then they’re on the streets. The accommodations at the Clover Inn closed many years ago, the building was renovated, and it’s now home to The Henry pub, which seems to be very popular.

Before The Henry opened, the Clover Inn was operating as a stripper bar for about ten or fifteen years. It seemed to be a popular hang out for motorbike gangs. I remember all the bikes parked in front when I was walking my dogs around town. A man was shot and killed in the bathroom, but he wasn’t the intended target. His murder is still unsolved.

https://vancouversun.com/news/staff-blogs/chris-whitmees-daughter-pleads-for-information-about-his-2009-murder

What did I see?

A few years ago I was walking my dogs. I don’t remember what time it was, but it was dark outside. I’m guessing this happened no later than 9pm.

I was walking on the sidewalk, heading back to my house. I’d just passed the Cloverdale Legion, and was about half a block away from Highway 15 where there’s a pedestrian-activated crosswalk at the street lights.

The other side of the street has a wide gravel shoulder, but not a paved sidewalk.

A man and a woman were walking on the other side of the street going in the opposite direction from me. He was very agitated and yelling. He even punched at a chain link fence that had been put around a closed gas station. I watched them, concerned for the woman’s safety. However, she was talking quietly and didn’t look worried.

The man was unhappy with whoever the woman was currently in a relationship with. I don’t know if she was walking with her brother or maybe an ex. Whoever he was to her, she wasn’t showing any signs of fear.

I didn’t get a good look at them. It’s a wide street and it was dark.

They were almost at the Cloverdale fire station, so she certainly could have run in there for protection if needed. I reached the traffic lights and kept watching them, wondering if I needed to dial 9-1-1 and ask for a cop to do a welfare check and see if she needed assistance.

The fact that they were walking, and she was quietly talking to him, and the only violence I witnessed was to a chain link fence (ouch that’s gotta hurt!), I continued on home.

Two days later the news is reporting on a homicide that happened in a townhouse that I walk past daily with my dogs, a couple of blocks from my house. Yikes! That’s too close for comfort.

The victim, a man in his early 30s, was shot from someone standing outside the residence. The girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend was the suspect.

That gave me chills. Was that who I’d seen the other night? When I saw the couple, they were a block away from that townhouse.

I’ll never know for sure.

https://www.cloverdalereporter.com/news/bad-ass-barry-stands-trial-for-a-murder-that-took-place-four-years-ago/

Anyway, he was sentenced to 14 years. https://www.langleyadvancetimes.com/news/bad-ass-barry-mcquarrie-sentenced-to-14-years/

Yup, if you want to kill someone, come to Canada.

Shot at home

Here are a couple more stories that happened about a year apart where men were shot and killed in their driveways in Cloverdale.

https://globalnews.ca/news/3705821/surrey-shooting-driveway-cloverdale/

https://www.surreynowleader.com/news/public-help-sought-in-homicide-of-cloverdale-hockey-coach-and-nurse/

Neither murder has been solved.

Pretty sad.

The dark side of Cloverdale sends out an unfortunate message: this quiet, small town isn’t so safe any more.

More reading:

Cloverdale Ghost Walk

4 Comments

  1. One of those women were my mother…. your facts sadly are incorrect. 1992 Laurie Wood was murder. My mother. One of the two killed on November 4, 1992.

    Let’s chat?

    1. Lacey, I am so sorry that your mother was one of the victims. Such a horrible tragedy. And you must have been so young at the time. I’m sure you can tell that I felt justice wasn’t done here and the legal system failed your family and the other victim’s family. 1992 was before the Internet so it’s hard to find news coverage other than the two articles I linked and relying on my memory. I’d be happy to edit with any other information that you’d like to honour your mother.

      I doubt that you’d know this but there were two vehicle accidents that Dale was part of where someone died in each incident, though I don’t recall if he was the at-fault driver in either. One happened when we were teenagers, the next crash a few years later.

    2. I have just ran across this article/postings. It is so very, very sad what happened to your mother and you! I knew your mother and her family. I met you a few years after the horrible tragedy.
      I hope you are doing (what can I say) alright?? I frequently think of you and your siblings and hope your life is as good as possible.
      I can’t imagine how difficult it could be knowing the fact that Hicks served such a short sentence for taking your dear mother away from you at such a young age. And then to top it off he appealed his sentence saying it was unfair and excessive. And then, upon his release he lived in close proximity to where you and your family lived. I hope that has changed. And/or you have a better perspective than myself.
      The prosecutor at the trial, was confident he would prevail with murder convictions, NOT!
      It was the other woman (Karen) murdered that sold a bit of coke, small time. The ladies were living, raising and providing a good home for their children. What was not allowed to be released in the trial is the fact that Hicks was Karen’s lover, even though he was married and had his own family.
      Karen was attacked first by him and then Laurie went in to help/save her. Which is when Hicks proceeded to kill Laurie.
      Some believe, myself included is that he killed Karen because she was carrying his child that he did not want. In fact, he carved the fetus out of her belly, he is such a sick F**K! He continues to walk around our streets and children. And YEAH, what a joke our ridiculous judicial system is. I wonder how the judge would feel, if Hicks was his neighbour??? Would the sentence handed down be the same??
      None of this was allowed to be mentioned during the trial. So, in addition to the 2 murders, he also killed her baby/fetus. And I believe he served only about 4-5 years for the horrible crimes he committed. That’s about 1.5 years per life. Isn’t Canada wonderful!
      Lacy, I hope the information I have shared is not disturbing for you. I believe you deserve to know the truths, in case you don’t have all the facts.

      I encourage you to get some therapy if you think you need it or not, especially if you believe you are being held back as a result. It can be extremely helpful and has been known to completely change one’s outlook and enhance someone’s life to a marvellous degree. I know after the incident, someone in your life was against getting therapy for you kids. Such an ignorant perspective.. Hopefully, that had/has changed.
      My heart hurts for you and your siblings. I truly hope that you can excel and be very happy in your life now and forever! I wish you the very best in your future. Keep your family close, if you have nurturing family members. If not, create your own family, as family is who we choose to be family.
      Perhaps we may meet again…

      1. Demetri, thank you for posting with kind words for Lacey.

        Also thanks for your insight into this tragedy. This was the first I heard that Hicks had more than just a business relationship with Karen. That’s awful it wasn’t heard at trial. Obviously his family must have come up with the money for a good defence attorney who managed to keep that from being heard. It’s just sickening the things he did and the many lives he destroyed that was only worth a few years in jail.

        My landlords said he was living in the Fleetwood area and his kids attended the same school as their grandkids, so as far as I know he’s still living in Surrey. His life goes on probably pretty normally and I doubt he gives any thought to his victims and the emotional distress he brought to their families.

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