Trial of Oliver man accused of manslaughter of step son continues

Crown and defence lawyers were expected to wrap up their cases in the Lloyd William Cook trial Tuesday morning

Crown and defence lawyers were expected to wrap up their cases in the Lloyd William Cook trial Tuesday morning with closing arguments to be heard before  B.C. Supreme Court Justice Glen Parrett.

The judge-alone trial in Prince George began last Monday.

Cook, 50, has pleaded not guilty to one count each of manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death, unlawful confinement and interference with a dead body. He was arrested in Oliver, B.C. in June 2009 and charged with offences stemming from the January 2000 death of his 13-year-old step son, Adam Williams-Dudoward, whose bone fragments were found in October 2004 in a wooded area off North Nechako Road.

In testimony Monday via video link from Penticton, Karen Johnson, a social worker with Ministry of Children and Family Development, described her meetings with Cook and Adam’s biological mother, Judy Williams, during January 2002. She told Crown counsel Lara Vizsolyi the purpose of the interviews was to discuss the ministry’s concerns over the couple’s youngest child.

Johnson said when she questioned Williams about Adam’s whereabouts, the mother’s response was: “He’s in a safe place”… but she would not elaborate on the subject. Asked by Vizsolyi to describe Williams’ demeanor during the interview, Johnson said, “She was very quiet, she kept her head down, and it was hard to make eye contact.”

However when Williams talked about Adam, “tears were rolling down her cheeks” Johnson said. But when the social worker “pushed” for information, Williams still would not answer the key question of where Adam was.

Cook did not attend that meeting, she said. He did attend a scheduled meeting on Jan. 17 with Williams and two social workers. At that time, both Cook and Williams told Johnson that Adam “was in a safe place.”

In contrast to Williams who was again “very quiet,” Johnson said that Cook was “yelling and swearing at myself and another social worker that was present.”

Johnson said that following the January meetings, she had “continued to be concerned” about Adam and took steps to try to find him, first by contacting the RCMP who advised her their last contact was in 1998. She also contacted the social services department (welfare office) to see if anyone on social assistance was claiming Adam as a dependent. They were not, she said. Johnson phoned school districts in the Penticton area inquiring if Adam  —  or a child with his birth date — was attending school. Further, Johnson said she talked with friends and relatives of both Cook and Williams.

“Relatives in the north thought Adam was living in the south. Relatives living in the south thought Adam was living in northern B.C.,” she said.

On February 15, 2002, Johnson said she took the further step of requesting a court order which in effect compelled Williams to appear in court to answer questions — and in March, the court issued a warrant for Williams’ arrest.

On March 11, 2002, Johnson said she got a phone call from Cook.

“He said he doesn’t know where Adam is and Judy won’t tell him,” Johnson said.

Penticton Western News