Friday, September 19, 2008

ARTICLE #5) Disappearance raises fears

Friday, April 21, 2006
Disappearance raises fears
The Province by Ethan Baron

A former Boston Pizza waitress from Kamloops has vanished in Las Vegas after apparently falling into the clutches of a violent pimp.

Jessie Foster, 21, last contacted her family March 28. Her bank accounts and credit card have shown no activity since then. Her several-times-a-week calls to family members have ceased altogether.

"She's a good kid," said Foster's mother, Glendene Grant of Kamloops. "We're talking about a girl who got A’s on her report card. She never smoked cigarettes. She never did drugs."

A year ago, Foster arrived in Las Vegas on her way home from a trip to Florida with a friend.

"She called me from Las Vegas and said, 'Mom, I like it here, I'm going to stay," Grant said.

Foster soon met a man named Peter who told her he raced cars and came from a wealthy family. She moved into his expensive condo.

"To her, he was like Prince Charming," Grant said. "What he was, he's just like a frickin' wolf."

A private detective hired by Foster's dad, Dwight Foster, uncovered disturbing information.

Foster, who had graduated from high school and went on to work as a waitress at Boston Pizza in Calgary and Kamloops, was convicted in Las Vegas of soliciting for prostitution in June 2005. Last September, she was charged with four more counts of that offence, investigator Mike Kirkman said.

Her Prince Charming was married to a convicted prostitute and he had been found guilty of spousal abuse.

Associates of Foster told Kirkman that Peter had beaten her up and that they'd seen the bruises.

"I think you can draw your own conclusions as to what he may be," Kirkman said. "In English, it's called a pimp."

Peter told Foster's mother that he came home April 3 to find Jessie had taken all her belongings and moved out.

Las Vegas police brought Peter, 39, in for questioning.

"We're interested in him enough that we brought him in a second time," said the department's public information officer Tim Bedwell.

It appears Peter has a considerable amount of money but no legitimate source of income, Bedwell said.

But police have no evidence of a crime in relation to Foster's disappearance, and Peter's conviction for spousal assault isn't enough for a warrant to search his home, Bedwell said.

Peter is the only person police know of in the Las Vegas area to question in connection with Foster's disappearance, Bedwell said.

Peter told The Province he has no involvement with the prostitution business and that he never physically abused Foster.

"I don't give a s--t what the hell they say about me," Peter said. "When I met Jessica Foster, she was a hooker."

He said Foster stayed with him on and off and he thinks she's now working as a decoy for the police, or has gone underground to avoid being deported for prostitution offences.

With each hour that passes, hope fades a little more for Foster's family. But her mother leaves a voicemail message for her daughter every day.

"Jessie, we're looking for you, baby," her mother says. "Don't worry, we're going to find you."

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