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The RCMP and B.C. Coroners Service are continuing a search of a rural property in the North Okanagan where human remains were recently found.
This is occurring after five women went missing in the Vernon-Sicamous area in less than two years.
The property is in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road between Vernon and Salmon Arm.
Police have made no connection between the discovery of human remains and the missing women.
One of those who went missing in April 2016 was Ashley Marie Simpson. Her father, John Simpson, told CBC News that she was going to hitchhike from Salmon Arm back to the family home in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. She never arrived.
In March 2016, the RCMP sought the public's help in finding Caitlin Potts, a 27-year-old last heard from on February 22, 2016. She moved to the North Okanagan in 2015 from Alberta. She's also never been found.
Deanna Wertz, 46, went missing in July 2016. She was last seen at her home in Enderby.
Traci Genereaux, an 18-year-old Vernon resident, was last heard from on May 29. And a 31-year-old woman, Nicole Bell, disappeared in September.
Father's fears deepen over missing Okanagan teen
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Caitlin Potts, 27, was last in contact with her family on Feb. 22, 2016.
One of the five Okanagan women who vanished recently was in Vernon the same day as a man who lives on the farm where police are searching for human remains, court records show.
Traci Genereaux, 18, was last seen in Vernon on May 29, and legal documents indicate Curtis Wayne Sagmoen was also in Vernon that same day.
“It could mean nothing, but it could also mean quite a bit,” Traci’s emotional dad, Darcy Genereaux, said Thursday.
“I just hope she’s safe and happy somewhere, and does not become a statistic here.”
Last week, the Sagmoen family farm near Salmon Arm became the site of a massive RCMP investigation after detectives made the grim discovery of human remains on the property.
Sagmoen faces no charges in relation to the remains.
He was arrested last week, though, after a sex worker said she was allegedly threatened Aug. 28 with a shotgun near the farm at 2290 Salmon River Road, near Silver Creek.
Five women have disappeared over the last 20 months along a 75 km stretch between Sicamous and Vernon. The Sagmoen farm is in the middle of that area.
RCMP continue to say there is nothing to link the human remains on the farm with the missing women, although their families remain concerned.
Two of the missing women, Deanna Wertz and Ashley Simpson, lived very near the Sagmoen farm. A third, Caitlin Potts, was believed to have been in Enderby, a town close to the farm, the day she vanished.
Genereaux lived in Vernon, about 40 km away.
Court records show Sagmoen was stopped by police in Vernon on May 29, the day Genereaux disappeared, and charged with some vehicle infractions, including problems with his headlights and tail lights.
The court records do not say what type of vehicle Sagmoen was driving. Postmedia could not find any vehicle ownership documents for Sagmoen.
Traci’s friend Robert Zimmerman said he saw the teenager talking to the driver of a white service van in an alley near the old bottle depot on May 29, and then get into the vehicle. It was a white panel van with a company logo on the back, but he could not remember the name.
Zimmerman did not recognize the driver and made a report to police.
“I think the world of the girl,” Zimmerman said of Traci, who he described as a lovely young woman who was struggling a bit in life.
Concerned about the police search at the Sagmoen farm, Darcy Genereaux contacted the RCMP on Saturday for an update on his daughter’s case.
“I asked if this had anything to do with Traci, but the officer said as of right now she can’t tell me anything,” Genereaux said.
“I’m dying here … She’s daddy’s little girl.”
On Thursday, Sagmoen made his second appearance in court via teleconference to face the charges laid in connection with the alleged August attack: disguising his face with intent to commit an offence, intentionally discharging a firearm, pointing a firearm, uttering threats, careless use or storage of a firearm and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
He was also charged with possessing methamphetamine, on Sept. 5.
Sagmoen remains in custody. It will be up to his defence lawyer to decide whether to request bail when he returns to court Nov. 23, said crown attorney Juan O’Quinn.
On the day Darcy Genereaux last saw his daughter, May 29, Traci left his house to pick up a telescope from her mother, who lives nearby in Vernon.
He said the teenager never went longer than 48 hours without contacting one of her parents, or posting on her many social media accounts.
“She hasn’t been on any sites since that day,” Genereaux said.
He claimed his family had to make three missing person reports before police would publicize her disappearance. Traci has had troubles in the past with police, and he believes that tainted the RCMP response to her case.
“She was off the beaten path, but was back on the good road and had been there for a while,” he said.
Traci, who broke her spine in a car accident on Christmas Eve but was recovering, had once worked in the sex trade. Genereaux, though, wants his daughter with the big blue eyes to be remembered instead for the improvements she made in her life in recent years.
“She was a wonderful little girl. She was always laughing and joking and making funny little sounds. She’d brighten up the room,” he said.
“I’m still trying to keep as positive as I can.”
RCMP escalated their search of the Sagmoen farm Wednesday, bringing in more investigators, heavy equipment for digging and microwaves and a coffee maker, indicating the possibility of a lengthy investigation.
Thursday, detectives continued to comb the property for evidence. Livestock had been removed from the site and a representative from a firm that supplies mobile mining equipment paid investigators a visit.
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said Wednesday that the remains haven’t yet been identified.
Moskaluk said police don’t yet have a timeline for the investigation, and that investigators are keeping families of the missing women apprised of developments.
Vancouver lawyer Lisa Jean Helps, who is representing Sagmoen, would not comment Thursday on his court appearance, well-being and whereabouts, or say anything about his family.
“Of course, this matter will be dealt with in the justice system, in due course, and we wait for that,” she said.
Picture Curtis Wayne Sagmoen