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Poster blitz

An unprecedented partnership has brought together Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers, the RCMP Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) and BC Ferries in an effort to shed light on the case of Jodi Henrickson.

An unprecedented partnership has brought together Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers, the RCMP Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) and BC Ferries in an effort to shed light on the case of Jodi Henrickson.

"This is a new approach and it is the first time in B.C. that we have {such] a partnership," says Larry Murray, chairman of Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers.

After posters calling for information on Henrickson's disappearance went up last week, Crime Stoppers has already received a number of calls. "Some of them are quite solid," Murray said.

Henrickson, a 17-year-old from Squamish, was last seen on Bowen Island after a house party and Murray says that there is a strong indication that this was a homicide.

"Both Squamish and Bowen Island are part of the jurisdiction of our division and the board decided to put some effort in the Jodi Henrickson file from a Crime Stopper perspective. We want to provide the opportunity for the public to come forward so we set up a poster campaign.

"We thought it would be important to get the information on the ferry because that's how young people travel back and forth," he adds.

It was only two weeks ago that BC Ferries gave the green light to participate after Crime Stoppers had approached them with a solid campaign.

There are now new posters on the ferries and in the terminal area. Other areas of distribution are the public spaces in Horseshoe Bay, Squamish and Bowen Island.

Murray traveled to Bowen last Thursday with another board member to distribute the posters to local businesses. They received strong support. "We have the posters in the Bowen grocery store, the post office and such. We also covered the Squamish area," he said. "We are getting a lot of interest on the topic."

Murray also dropped in at the Bowen Island RCMP to review the case with Cst. Bryan Mulrooney.

"One of the key problems around this homicide is a cone of silence," Murray said. "There were dozens of young people at that party. Some don't say anything because they are fearful. Others think this is not their problem. But we are trying to encourage the citizens who have information to come forward. Of course they can go directly to police, but if they don't want to do that, crime stoppers is the logical place to go."

Murray says, "Crime Stoppers allows citizen to bring forward information about crimes in a totally anonymous way." No names are required and the office doesn't use call display or ask for phone numbers or contact information.

Murray hopes that the poster will remind people to help. "When a tip comes in, the police get the information within 15 minutes. By getting the poster program front and centre, we hope that people will rethink their positions. They might think, 'It is time that I say something.'"

Murray says that isn't unusual for a period of time to pass before people speak out. "In Squamish, it took five years for someone to come forward with an anonymous tip about the death of Bob McIntosh that led to an arrest."

"In 2012, it's going to be three years since Jodi died," Murray said. "The poster is an excellent way to remind people and get them involved."

The $2,000 reward money is the regular amount that Crime Stoppers offers for big crimes. Murray says, "I found it interesting that many people who report crimes and bring forward excellent information don't call back for the reward. I think that money is not really a motivator; the whole notion is to get the information out."

Murray thinks that a number of youth who were at the same party as Henrickson might have valuable information and may have shared it with their parents.

"The key message is to come forward and get that information into the mix," Murray said. "The police have to be sure they got the right person or people and any information can be helpful." Murray also mentioned the new QR code on the posters that links people with smart phones to more information.

Crime stopper's phone number is 1-800-222-8477 or text BCTIP (274637).

Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers is a non-profit society with an active local program dedicated to crime prevention. It covers the corridor region from Bowen Island to north of Pemberton. Murray says that he would welcome having a representative from Bowen Island on the board.

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