The mother of Caitlin Potts says she is in a constant state of worry after the body of a woman was discovered on a B.C. farm in the same area where her daughter went missing.
“My emotions are kind of up and down,” said Priscilla Potts. “I’m still waiting for answers.”
Potts’ daughter disappeared on Feb. 22, 2016, from the North Okanagan in British Columbia.
The family is from Sampson Cree First Nation outside Edmonton.
The remains of Traci Genereaux recovered by RCMP during an ongoing search of farm property near Salmon Arm were positively identified Wednesday.
The 18-year-old disappeared from Vernon, B.C. on May 29, 2017.
She and Potts are two of five women reported missing in the area in the past 20 months.
Priscilla Potts said police told her the massive search, now entering its third week, has nothing to do with Caitlin’s disappearance.
“I was full of fear at first thinking my daughter could be there but as far as I know it has nothing to do with Caitlin,” she said in a telephone interview Thursday.
The positive identification Wednesday was the first link between the property and any of the missing women.
No charges have yet been laid although a man who lived at the farm is in custody on unrelated matters.
Priscilla Potts said she provided samples of hair and blood for a potential DNA match last year.
The father of another of the missing women – Ashley Simpson’s dad John Simpson – confirmed he also gave DNA samples last year.
Priscilla Potts said being so far from where her daughter was living and disappeared has been agonizing.
She praised Jody Leon, an area woman from Splatsin First Nation, for organizing ground searches on her behalf.
“Priscilla, she was feeling really devastated about her daughter. She doesn’t live there and I do,” Leon said over the phone. “Eighteen members of her family came down to help with the search.
“We did an informational walk, stopped cars, covered 112 km – including the property where Caitlin was last known to be living.”
Priscilla Potts said she is banking on her faith and the support of friends to get her through this trying time.
“I rely on the Creator. I rely on him a lot,” she said.
Caitlin Potts, 27, was last seen at a shopping mall in Kelowna. RCMP released video of her from that day.
Her family said she was living in Enderby for about a year when she told her sister she would make her way home to Alberta by arranging a ride through the online classified site Kijiji.
For her to be out of touch with them was out of character, they added.
RCMP have said they believe Potts may be deceased and there is a possibility she met with “foul play.”
The search by their Southeast District Major Crimes Unit at 2290 Salmon River Rd. appears to be expanding, with an excavator and dogs at the scene.
Two other areas off major roadways are also being searched.
Map of the approximate last known locations of the missing women in North Okanagan-Shuswap, British Columbia.
The sight of police tents and digging equipment invites comparisons to the search for missing and murdered women on the infamous Pickton pig farm in Port Coquitlam, outside Vancouver.
That case, which dates back to 1997, led to a massive provincial inquiry into how the police, justice system and various levels of government contributed to the violence that led to the deaths of more than 50 women.
Many of those themes are being heard again during the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women underway across the country.