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

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.

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

Just Posted

(Randy Mills/@poohbah431111 - Twitter)
Motorcyclist rushed to Kelowna General Hospital after collision

The collision occurred around 7:15 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 33 and Gerstmar Road

Three Lake Country firefighters scaled Spion Kop in support of their Movember fundraiser. (District of Lake Country photo)
Lake Country firefighters scale Spion Kop for Movember fundraiser

The three firefighters did the arduous 2.63-kilometre climb while breathing bottled air

Quigley Elementary. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: More COVID-19 cases confirmed at Kelowna Schools

Interior Health announced exposures at both Kelowna Secondary and Quigley Elementary on Sunday

Former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Richard Brodeur discussing his paintings with the executive director of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan Kirsteen McCulloch. (Contributed)
Former Canucks goalie King Richard’s art displayed at Kelowna gallery

Richard Brodeur starred in the Vancouver Canucks’ 1982 Stanley Cup run

Real Canadian Superstore in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
Kelowna Superstore employee tests positive for COVID-19

The last day the employee worked was Nov. 23

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A confirmed case of COVID-19 at Vernon’s Silver Star Elementary School has been reported. (Google Maps)
COVID case confirmed at Okanagan elementary school

Member of Silver Star Elementary community in Vernon self-isolating at home; parents alerted Nov. 28

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Steve French caught the halo moon on his camera on Saturday night. (Steve French Facebook)
Did you see the halo moon last night?

The halo is actually millions of tiny ice crystals

Most Read