Produced by Paul LaRosa, Clare Friedland and Alec Sirken
[This story previously aired on Dec. 21, 2013. It was updated on May 28, 2016.]
"The road's called Highway 16. It's part of the Trans-Canada Highway system. ... There are places in this road where you will see more bears than you will see cars. The road can take on kind of a sinister aspect to it. It's a place that can be a good friend to evil. The locals know it as the Highway of Tears. And it's called that because there's been a -- a series of disappearances and murders of women and girls that date back four decades, and a large number of them are still unsolved," said Bob Friel, an investigative journalist who has traveled this notorious road in British Columbia, Canada. "People know that their sisters and daughters are at risk if they go near this highway and perhaps wind up hitchhiking for an emergency reason. The number of victims varies with who you talk to. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police force says that there's 18 victims. But if you talk to the local people, they believe the number is 33, 43, perhaps even more."
This week, the story made front-page news as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed more than $30 million to a new, national investigation into missing and murdered women.
"I believe that here is a need for a national public inquiry to bring justice for the victims, healing for the families and to put an end to this tragedy," Trudeau announced.
"It's just an awful feeling ... to know that she disappeared from just a few feet away. It's just devastating," said Dawn Scott.
Devastating, and yet, Dawn and Eldon Scott keep coming back to the place where their 20-year-old daughter, Maddy, was last seen alive.
"It's really unsettling knowing that she disappeared from here and nobody has seen her since," Eldon Scott told "48 Hours" correspondent Peter Van Sant.
It was at Hogsback Lake in Northern British Columbia, Canada, where Maddy camped out after partying with friends on the night of May 27, 2011.
"It's a beautiful little spot. It's close to town," Dawn explained.
"So it was just a group of kids going for a birthday party?" Van Sant asked.
"Yeah ... and they were going out camping for the night," she replied.
"The next day Maddy has not come home ... did you call her on her cell phone?"
"I did try to call her and it went right to her voicemail," said Dawn.
Still, Dawn wasn't worried. Cell service at the lake was always spotty.
"I thought, 'Gee, like she's 20 years old, she went to the lake. The weather was beautiful, she was with friends. If something was up, she would call us," said Dawn.
But Maddy never called.
"... it just didn't seem right and that was Sunday morning so Eldon and I hopped in the vehicle and we drove out there," she continued.
Hogsback Lake is only a 15-minute drive from the Scott's home in Vanderhoof, a tiny town along Canada's infamous Highway 16. The locals call it "The Highway of Tears" for a reason.
Since 1969, at least 18 women have gone missing or have been murdered in this very same area ... just like Maddy.
"Here again is a girl from one of these small towns along this highway who has disappeared without a trace," said Bob Friel, an investigative reporter for Outside magazine and a CBS News consultant. He has written about this haunted highway and the Maddy Scott case.
"Madison Scott fits the same pattern as some of these cases that are on the official list," Friel explained, "but she disappeared from a place very close to the highway."
On that Sunday morning in 2011, Maddy's parents were not thinking about the nearby highway's reputation -- they just wanted to find their daughter.
"You arrive here at Hogsback, what do you see?" Van Sant asked.
"Her old pickup was parked here..." said Eldon.
"And what did you do?"
"We walked over to the truck and looked in it," said Dawn.
Dawn and Eldon found Maddy's purse and backpack inside her locked truck, but her phone was missing.
"She doesn't go anywhere without her purse or you know, her personal belongings," Dawn told Van Sant.
"So at what point does panic set in?"
"Immediately," she said.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police -- the RCMP -- rushed to the scene, but there was no trace of Maddy.
"Something happened to Maddy. Maddy disappeared. She didn't get taken by a flying saucer. Somebody knows something," said Sgt. Ken Floyd.
Sergeant Ken Floyd and Constable Tom Wamsteeker of the RCMP are the lead investigators. They begin by developing a profile of Maddy. She was close to her brother, Ben, and sister Georgia. After graduating high school, Maddy began working with her father in the logging industry.
"Everyone speaks highly of Madison Scott. She was well-loved and liked in the community. She was an avid outdoors person," Wamsteeker explained. "... she was into dirt biking and she loved sports."
Amanda Fitzpatrick and Jasmine Klassen are Maddy's close friends.
"Was Maddy a real competitor?" Van Sant asked Fitzpatrick.
"Yes," she laughed fondly, "very much so."
Asked what thoughts come to mind when she thinks of Maddy, Klassen was overcome with emotion. "She always shared. She was really thoughtful," she said.
The girls cannot think about their close friend without remembering all the videos they made together.
"She liked to take charge. Everyone would have their own ideas and she would just kinda take over," Fitzpatrick said of Maddy's moviemaking.
In an eerie twist, Maddy co-wrote and starred in a suspense movie called, "The Stalker."
Neither Fitzpatrick of Klassen was at the birthday party the night Maddy went missing, but about 50 others were and investigators began going at them hard.
"You spoke to every single person who had been at that party?" Van Sant asked Sgt. Floyd.
"We have," he replied. "It remains ongoing ... we haven't identified anyone that would have a grudge or had any reason to harm or cause Madison's disappearance."
But investigators did uncover one troubling detail: that fateful night, Maddy's friends had left her at the lake completely alone.
"As far as she knew going there, there were other people that were going to be staying out at the lake that night," said Constable Tom Wamsteeker.
But one by one, everyone packed up and left, including Jordy Bolduc, who had promised Maddy that she'd stay with her.
"I just can't believe that it's -- it's just so wrong," said Maddy's mom.
"People still think that I am a horrible person 'cause I left my best friend out there," Bolduc told Van Sant. "...and people, like, yell at me and write on Facebook that I've killed her and I left her and I'm stupid."
"Did the police question you?"
"Oh yeah," she replied. "... they asked me the question several times ... 'Did you kill Maddy? Were you there when Maddy was killed?'
THE SEARCH FOR MADDY SCOTT
For Dawn and Eldon Scott, the disappearance of their 20-year-old daughter, Maddy, is almost incomprehensible.
"I think it was just so surreal to everyone," Dawn told Peter Van Sant.
"It was just like, 'This can't be happening.' ... you just keep expecting her to show up."
Finding Maddy in the vast Canadian wilderness that surrounds the Highway of Tears, where so many women have gone missing, feels nearly impossible.
"It's like a needle in a haystack. It's just amazing. You know there's water, there's forest, there's rugged terrain ... it's staggering you know? That's why the possibilities, they're endless," said Dawn.
Frustrated and heartbroken, Dawn and Eldon began their own investigation, separate from the official police version of events.
"This is a board that our team has put together. It's a list of people who were at the party," Dawn explained. "... when they arrived, when they left ...Who they arrived with, with who they left with."
The makeshift investigation went up on the Scott's basement wall, just feet from Maddy's now empty bedroom.
"We needed a place to put up a board to keep track of, to lay it out, what went on," said Eldon.
They re-traced Maddy's trail throughout the day as she visited a liquor store and later bought snacks. She can be seen on a security camera recorded just hours before she vanished.
"You have a category [labeled] 'questions,'" Van Sant noted, referring to the information board. "What kind of questions do you have?"
"Why was she left there on her own? Why did everybody leave?" Dawn replied.
And if there is one person who can answer some of those questions, it's Jordy Bolduc, Maddy's friend who had promised to camp out with her.
"Tell me about the party that night," Van Sant asked Bolduc.
"Well, it was just supposed to be the people that we know and then it turned into like this big party," she replied.
Word had spread online. "It was posted on Facebook, so that's how everybody found out and went to Hogsback. Big party," said Bolduc.
Asked if there were strangers at the party, Bolduc told Van Sant, "I know most of them, but the people that came at the very end of the party, I did not know. I had no idea who they were."
At one point, the party got a bit rough. "People got up and started a fight behind me and I bounced into the fire," she explained.
Jordy Bolduc was injured, so her boyfriend carried her to his truck and told Maddy they were leaving.
"What did she say to you?" Van Sant asked.
"She was just like shocked," Bolduc replied. "She's like, 'Really, you're going?' and I was like, 'Yeah, I'm going.' And she kinda begged me and then I was like, 'Well, you can come with us ... and she said no ... she wanted just to stay there with her tent for it to be safe."
"Did she tell you she thought it would be safe?"
"Yeah, she said she thought it would be fine," said Bolduc.
"What time did you leave the party?" Van Sant asked.
"Hmmmm, I left around 1 [a.m.]," she said.
By 10 the following morning, Bolduc was feeling guilty about leaving Maddy alone. She returned to the lake to help her pack up.
"And then I got there and there was no Maddy. And I looked around ... checked the place. I was like, 'Oh maybe she's in her truck,'" she said.
Jordy Bolduc noticed that the tent was a mess.
"The door was wide open," she recalled. "The blankets and everything were pushed to the side. Her rings were outside ... she never takes off her rings... there are rings on the ground and earrings, wooden on the ground ... and I was like 'Whoa.' ... It was just like 'Where's Maddy?'"
Investigators have focused a lot of attention on Bolduc and the last people to leave the party.
"Common sense dictates that Jordy was a suspect. She was one of the last people ... who spoke with Maddy," said Sgt. Ken Floyd of the RCMP.
"I was probably talked to every single day for three months," Bolduc explained. "I went in for like two polygraphs."
"And the result?" Van Sant asked.
"They said I aced it. I aced the polygraph," she replied in a whisper.
"Jordy is no longer a suspect," said Constable Tom Wamsteeker of the RCMP.
The investigation spread outward and Sgt. Floyd learned that 28-year-old Fribjon Bjornson, a logger and single father of two, was telling friends he knew what happened to Maddy.
"Fribjon Bjornson is a Vanderhoof resident. He was a friend of Madison's ... they had spent time together socializing," said Floyd.
"I couldn't believe that they were seeing each other because he's bad news. He is bad news," said Bolduc.
Bjornson, better known as "Frib", led a troubled life and abused drugs -- a fact confirmed by police. But his mother insists her son was turning his life around.
"From our perspective, Fribjon, like others, was a suspect," said Floyd.
There was talk in town that Frib owed drug dealers money and that they had abducted Maddy to teach him a lesson. It's a theory investigated by police.
"We don't leave any stone unturned where Maddy's concerned," Floyd said, "and we would be irresponsible by not following up with the suggestion that there was revenge or some connection between Frib and Madison."
Investigators considered Bjornson a suspect. He voluntarily took a lie detector test and passed.
"He wanted to clear his name and he wanted people to know he had no involvement in what happened to Maddy," said Constable Wamsteeker.
Based largely on that polygraph test, the RCMP cleared him. But two days later, Bjornson disappeared. Two weeks later, investigators made a shocking discovery. They found Bjornson's severed head in an abandoned house in a nearby town.
"And they're still looking for the rest of his body," said Bolduc.
Frib's mother told "48 Hours" that she believes her son was killed for a paycheck he had cashed that night he went missing. Four suspects were charged in connection with Bjornson's murder. Maddy's case remains unsolved.
"There is no connection between Madison's disappearance and Frib's murder," said Floyd.
Madison disappeared five years ago on May 28, 2011. She remains missing.
"You do believe that she'll be found?" Van Sant asked the Scotts.
"I do, yes I do," Dawn nodded.
"I said that from the very first day that we'll find her and we'll bring her home," said Eldon.
The Scotts have issued public requests for help and there is a $100,000 reward for information.
"When you take even a simple drive, Maddy's looking back at you. You see her on the side of the road on one of these signs. What is that like for you?" Van Sant asked.
"Oh it kills ya every time," Dawn said, overcome with emotion. "Again, why am I sitting here, not out looking somewhere ... it's your child you know? It's devastating and it's just gut-wrenching. ... you see all these posters on vehicles and it's just staggering ... you just can't believe that it's your child."
Maddy's parents are not alone. Just six months earlier in the same town, another daughter disappeared.
"Every day I wake up thinking about Loren. Every night I go to sleep thinking about Loren," Doug Leslie said. "I think it's gonna be the same forever..."
Six months before Maddy Scott disappeared, Doug Leslie, who also lives in this remote region of Canada, received an ominous late night phone call. It was Nov. 27, 2010.
"At midnight I get a call from the cops ... asking if Loren was there and I said, 'What's going on?' And he said, 'Well, if Loren's home, somebody's using her ID. So I thought that was kind of strange," said Leslie.
"What does that mean, someone was using her ID?" Peter Van Sant asked.
"Well, they'd found her ID in a vehicle," he said.
Leslie's 15-year-old daughter, Loren, was not at home - and he couldn't reach her.
"I was worried," he told Van Sant. "I didn't know what was going on. Whether she was in trouble or whether she, you know -- I didn't have any idea."
What he did know was that he wanted to find his daughter. So when police promised -but failed - to call him back, he headed out along a dark road that feeds into the notorious Highway of Tears.
"So at 2 o'clock in the morning, I figured I'm gonna drive until I find cops," he explained.
Doug Leslie had no idea that, hours earlier, an alert cop had made a traffic stop on that road.
"An RCMP constable ... was driving down the road simply on regular police business. And out of one of these logging roads, these skid roads, a black pickup truck comes out ... there's a kid inside, a 20-year-old kid," investigative reporter Bob Friel explained. "He questions him, IDs him, doesn't quite like how the kid's acting."
The "kid" was suspected of poaching. He was held at the scene while a game warden was summoned and followed fresh tire tracks back through the snow.
"... takes his flashlight ... expecting to find a moose or an elk. Instead he finds the body of a 15-year-old girl who had just been killed and dumped there," said Friel.
It was at that moment that Doug Leslie came upon the scene.
"The game warden was standing there. And he was white as a ghost," Leslie told Van Sant. "And I told him who I was and I didn't wanna hear any bull---- and I wanted to know what was going on. And they said all they could tell me was they were investigating a homicide. So I knew right away."
"You knew that homicide investigation was Loren?" Van Sant asked.
"Yup," he replied in tears.
Police told Leslie they were having trouble identifying the victim's face. So he told them to check for a unique tattoo on his daughter's wrist.
Holding up his arm, Leslie showed Van Sant the matching tattoo on his wrist. "It says Grip Fast ... it's our family motto," he said. "It just means hang tight."
Police found the tattoo and Doug Leslie's worst fears were proven true -- the victim was his daughter, Loren.
"She was molested, beat over the head with a pipe wrench and her throat was cut," he said. "Just awful."
Asked who could do such a thing, Leslie broke down before telling Van Sant, "Not a human, for sure."
Twenty-year-old Cody Legebokoff, whose pickup truck was first pulled over on that routine stop, was now a suspect in the murder of Loren Leslie.
"She was very mature for her age. Very caring," Leslie said of his daughter. "She was a joyful kid ... she was a great swimmer ... great athlete ... she excelled in karate."
All the more remarkable considering Loren had a genetic eye condition that left her nearly blind since birth. Close friends, like Charleine Laing, barely noticed.
"She never let on to it. You would never know meeting her. She did everything everybody else could do and she did it better," said Laing.
With the help of thick eyeglasses, Loren was spending hours each night online. And Laing believes that's how Loren met Cody Legebokoff.
"Cody Legebokoff was very active in social media. He used Facebook, he used online dating sites. His handle, his name online that he used a lot, was '1CountryBoy'," said Friel.
"And so when she met someone online she'd begin a conversation with them?" Van Sant asked Laing.
"She'd establish a relationship. She's very trusting," she replied.
"They could confide in her."
Perhaps too trusting. Loren's mother, Donna, would worry about her daughter's trips along the Highway of Tears from her hometown of Vanderhoof to the crime-ridden city of Prince George.
"She would enlist anybody to take her to Prince George because she had a network of friends there and it really concerned me because I didn't know who these people were and I tried to convince her how dangerous it was," she explained.
But Cody Legebokoff, a local high school graduate, seemed like the all-Canadian boy next door. He worked at a Ford dealership in Prince George and lived in a house with three roommates--all women. Garett Anatole was on his soccer team.
"When my friend told me it was Cody, our friend and stuff, I couldn't believe it either. I was like, 'Oh my God, that was Cody, cause he's from your own town, right?" Anatole said. "... he was popular. He was, you know, graduated, got along with everybody, fun, joke around, party and stuff like that."
But as investigators dug into Legebokoff's past, they were able to tie him to three other murders near the Highway of Tears. A year after Loren's death, the RCMP declared they had captured a home-grown serial killer:
"We can announce today that three counts of first-degree murder have been laid against 21-year-old Cody Allen Legebokoff," said RCMP Inspector Brendan Fitzpatrick.
The three other murder victims had disappeared in 2009 and 2010.
"This is someone who, if the charges are proven, was a 19-year-old serial killer. That's extremely young for a serial killer to start his career," noted Friel.
Police would not talk to "48 Hours" about how they connected Legebokoff to these victims, but they believe there may be more.
"We believe there are others out there that may have been in contact with Legebokoff or these victims and possess information that can assist our ongoing investigation," Fitzpatrick continued.
Loren's friend, Charleine Laing, says she had once met Legebokoff and did not like what she saw.
"I did not like his eyes. They just looked angry," she told Van Sant.
"They looked -- they don't look soft and innocent, they looked angry."
"And you felt this way before he was in the news?"
"Long before," she replied.
With Cody Legebokoff under arrest in the murders of Loren Leslie and three others, townspeople along the "Highway of Tears" felt some relief. But it was clear Legebokoff was far too young to have committed murders that stretched back to 1969. Other killers still were roaming that highway and it was Sgt. Wayne Clary's job to catch them.
"They're out there cruising ... picking up these girls that are very, very vulnerable," he said.
Cody Legebokoff was under arrest, but that did not solve the Maddy Scott disappearance. He'd been in custody months before Maddy had gone missing. And his arrest also brought little peace to the families of the women killed along the Highway of Tears -- the cases that Sgt. Wayne Clary is determined to solve.
More than 750 boxes filled with thousands of documents -- every report since the first murder in 1969 -- are stored at RCMP headquarters.
"Is the guy we're looking for in these boxes?"Sgt. Clary wondered.
Sergeant Clary took over the special unit assigned to the Highway of Tears cases in 2012.
"There will be transcribed statements in here. There will be forensic reports, lab reports, witness interviews," he explained.
More than 60,000 people have been interviewed.
"How many persons of interest have their been in this investigation," Peter Van Sant asked.
"The last I looked about 1,400," said Clary. "We've uncovered men who drive vans with the door handles removed from the inside, duct tape, plastic restraints, trap doors ... it's incredible to me how many men are capable of doing this."
The seemingly endless wilderness where these attacks have occurred is staggering. To show the challenges his people face, Clary took "48 Hours" into the air to fly the nearly 500 miles of the Highway of Tears -- from the interior all the way to the sea.
"Right now we're just flying over Prince George which is the hub of the north. And it's the start of our investigation into our missing and murdered women," Clary explained from high above.
"It's been said that the Highway of Tears is a perfect hunting ground. It's a perfect killing ground for someone because they can hide their victims," noted Van Sant.
"And I would add to what you just said, a perfect dumping ground," said Clary.
The landscape is beautiful, but it's a terrible beauty considering the context.
"As one is looking out it's just hard to imagine what the victims have suffered down there over the years," Clary lamented.
Some victims have been found alongside this lonely highway; others discovered by hikers.
The sad aerial journey ends on the west coast, just 25 miles from the Alaskan border. It was time to come back to earth and drive the Highway of Tears.
Who were the women murdered along this road?
"We're gonna visit where Alberta Williams was left, she was killed," said Clary.
Alberta Williams, 26, of Prince Rupert was the tenth Highway of Tears victim. It was 1989. Williams had just come out of a bar with a group of friends. Her sister, Claudia, was there.
"I turn my head ," she told Van Sant. "And when I turned my back again... I looked and I'm like, 'Oh my God. This is crazy.' How could so many people disappear in such a short time."
"Where did she go?"
"I have no idea," Williams replied.
Alberta's body was found 30 days later.
"Peter, we found Alberta Williams body approximately 50 feet from where we're standing," Clary explained.
"These are the old railroad ties you've been talking about?" Van Sant commented.
"Yeah... there was a couple of people looking for these old ties and about 50 feet from straight ahead of me, they stumbled across a body and that was the body of Alberta Williams," said Clary.
Wherever "48 Hours" went, the faces from the past began to appear.
"We're in the town of Smithers along Highway 16 and we have two girls we're investigating," said Clary.
Delphine Nikal, 15, disappeared while hitchhiking in 1990. Lana Derrick was a 19-year-old college student back in 1995.
"And very close to here - 19 years earlier - we recovered the body of Monica Ignas," said Clary.
Monica Ignas was just 14.
"She went missing Dec. 14, 1974," he told Van Sant. "If we're all quiet, we can hear cars going down Highway 16 right now. It's that close."
"I can hear them in the distance."
"Yep, we're less than a mile, probably a mile and a half from the highway," said Clary.
Monica Ignas isn't the youngest victim; that would be 12-year-old Monica Jack, who disappeared in 1978 while riding her bike. The highway has become so notorious, warning signs are everywhere.
"We're now in Smithers, British Columbia, and were driving off of Highway 16 which is just over this ridge. We've driven about a mile down this dirt road and again, we're in total isolation. Wayne, what happened here?" Van Sant asked.
"Well, in April of 1995, there was a couple gentlemen moose hunting and they were perhaps 20, 25 feet off into the bush here and they discovered the remains of Ramona Wilson," he explained. "Ramona Wilson's a girl who went missing from Smithers in 1994."
No one remembers Ramona Wilson more than her mother, Matilda.
"Her picture is right here. It's been 18 years and it's getting quite old," Wilson said looking at a faded photo of her daughter at a make-shift memorial near where Ramona was found. "Last year I was here for her birthday. It was February 15th. And June 11th, the day she was murdered."
Matilda Wilson took "48 Hours" into the woods to the spot where her daughter's body was found.
"Look how long, how far he carried her," she told Van Sant as they walked through the brush. "There is a bunch of trees all around like that. And they put her under the tree right there."
We continued our journey, eventually meeting up with fisherman Tom Chipman.
"It's pretty painful. It dredges up memories every time I see a picture," he told Van Sant.
Chipman's daughter, 22-year-old Tamara Chipman, disappeared in 2005 from Prince Rupert while hitchhiking. She left behind a 3-year-old son.
"The worst part is ... her body was never retrieved and not knowing what happened to her and where she ended up," said Chipman, who spent weeks searching the endless logging roads. "There was nothing ever found or her."
"She just disappeared?" Van Sant asked.
"Yeah, she just vanished."
Vanished. Just like Colleen MacMillen, a sweet 16-year-old redhead who, back in 1974, asked her little brother, Shawn, to be a standup brother.
"She just said, 'Don't tell mom I'm hitchhiking' and she walked away," he told Van Sant. "She didn't arrive, just didn't get there.
Her body was found a month later, not 30 miles from the family home.
"It's a lifelong disaster is what it is," said Colleen's brother, Kevin. "It was sad the day it happened and we're sad today and we'll be sad till the day we die."
But then, nearly 40 years after Colleen's disappearance, came a dramatic development.
"We've had a major break in the case and surprisingly, it's an American," said Clary.
A "CSI MOMENT"
In 2012, 38 years after Colleen MacMillen disappeared, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced a dramatic development:
"The break has to do with the 1974 disappearance and murder of 16-year-old Colleen MacMillen," RCMP inspector Gary Shinkaruk told reporters.
Using new, enhanced DNA technology, the Highway of Tears task force matched male DNA recovered from Colleen's clothing to Bobby Jack Fowler -- a Texas native who worked as roofer in Prince George.
"I couldn't comprehend what was going on here -- they found the guy!" said Kevin MacMillen.
"I couldn't wait to phone everybody. We had all been waiting 38 years," said Shawn MacMillen.
Finally, one of the cold cases along the Highway of Tears is at last solved.
"It's gratification," said Sgt. Wayne Clary.
"In the States, we call this a 'CSI moment.' You've just had your Canadian 'CSI moment' with this case, haven't you?" Peter Van Sant asked.
"Ours took longer, but we've had it," Sgt. Clary said. "And it just reaffirms to us why we do our jobs."
The task force strongly believes Bobby Jack Fowler killed these young women as well: Gail Weys and Pamela Darlington, both 19 years old and missing since 1973. And Fowler may be responsible for six other Highway of Tears murders.
"A violent man -- sexual assaults, kidnapping, firearms -- in and out of jail," Clary said. "He's clearly a monster."
Fowler was married twice and has four children, but his work life was nomadic. He'd drive from motel to motel, picking up women in bars and girls hitchhiking along the highway.
"He believed that ... the majority ... the vast majority of women that he met in those places not only desired to be sexually assaulted, but desired to be violently sexually assaulted," said Shinkaruk.
Fowler lived in 11 states, from Texas to Oregon. Newport, Ore., investigator Ron Benson is looking into his past and thinks he may have left another Highway of Tears in the United States.
"We have a similar situation, where two girls left Beverly Beach State Park in the middle of the night and probably came out on the highway," Benson said.
"We know Bobby Jack Fowler was in Oregon, off and on, for decades. When these girls bodies were found five months later out in the woods, they were found in a condition similar to the cases in British Columbia," he continued.
Benson believes Fowler may have committed as many as seven murders in Oregon. But it was one notorious case involving a woman at a motel in 1995 that finally led to the end of Fowler's rampage.
"Bobby Jack Fowler tried to kill her here," Benson said standing outside the motel. "He tried to tie her up and to escape him she jumped naked out of a second story window with a rope tied around her leg."
The woman agreed to speak with "48 Hours" on the phone:
"He was just weird, he just got weird and then he put the rope around my foot," the woman said of her night with Fowler. "He was like ... He told me that he was gonna put me in the ocean ... I just was trying to scream and he just covered my mouth."
But, somehow, she did manage to get to the window and jump out alive.
"No one deserves this. If people are out there you don't know who they are. I'm just glad that I got away..." she said.
"When the first officer arrived, he was packing ... putting his belongings in the car," said Benson.
Fowler was arrested and convicted of kidnapping and assaulting her.
"If he'd had 15 more seconds, he would of driven away into obscurity and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would not have the opportunity to make that DNA connection," said Benson.
The MacMillens now know who killed their sister, but will never get the satisfaction of seeing him pay for her murder. Fowler died in prison in 2006.
"I'm just, I'm glad it's kind of over for us," said Shawn.
But it is not over for the family of Maddy Scott. She disappeared long after Fowler died.
So far the RCMP has indentified two alleged serial killers, but that does little for the families of Tamara Chipman, Ramona Wilson, Lana Derrick, Monica Ignas and more. They are still waiting for closure. Hoping that the haunted beauty of this highway will one day reveal all its secrets.
"It's one of the most beautiful, most spectacular roads you'll travel," said investigative reporter Bob Friel said. "... so you can be there on the most beautiful day of the entire year, and suddenly you see one of these [hitchhiking warning] signs. And you feel this foreboding on the road ... it's a place that definitely has a personality, and a lotta times, that's dark."
The RCMP later charged Garry Handlen as the killer of 12-year-old Monica Jack, the youngest victim on the Highway of Tears.
Cody Legebokoff was convicted of first-degree murder for killing teenager Loren Leslie and three other women and sentenced to life in prison. On Wednesday, May 25, he was in court asking that his convictions be overturned.
- Highway of Tears case tips: 800-222-8477
- Bobby Jack Fowler case tips: 877-543-4822
- Madison "Maddy" Scott case tips: 250-567-2222 | 800.222.TIPS
IN THE U.S.:
- Bobby Jack Fowler case tips (U.S.): 541-265-0271