Investigators are continuing to search multiple locations near Salmon Arm, B.C., after a grisly discovery Oct. 21.
More than 50 people came from all over the Okanagan Wednesday night after learning about the human remains. They held a candlelight vigil in honour of five women who have gone missing within a 55-km radius of here.
The missing women are Caitlyn Potts, who was last seen in February 2016; Ashley Simpson, who disappeared in April 2016; Deanna Wertz who disappeared in July 2016; Traci Genereaux, who vanished in May of 2017; and Nicole Bell, last seen in September 2017.
RCMP are digging at a farm in Silver Creek, about 10 km outside Salmon Arm. They have not confirmed if any of the missing women have been found.
“We don’t know the answers as to what has happened but it is something horrific that has happened within Splatsin Nation territory,” said band member Jody Leon.
Last August, police were called after a sex trade worker says she was threatened at gunpoint on the property by a man named Curtis Sagmoen. He’s currently facing six charges in relation to that incident.
Sagmoen was living on the farm owned by his parents. Two other locations are also being searched.
Bernie Williams, a Vancouver-based advocate for families of murdered and missing Indigenous women, came to show her support.
“It’s very devastating to hear that with the national inquiry happening…women are still murdered or missing,” said Williams, whose mother and two sisters were murdered on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
The search in the B.C. Interior is being called the largest police-scale operation in the southern Okanagan.
Ryan McDonald lives near the property that’s being dug up. He says it’s making him uneasy.
“The creep factor of it, right?”
Sagmoen remains in custody in Vernon.