As a day to remember missing and murdered women approaches, police officers are continuing their investigation in Silver Creek.
A neighbour of the 24-acre Sagmoen farm on Salmon River Road says police have been seen in the area since they vacated the farm on Nov. 9.
RCMP began an extensive search of the property in October. The remains of a missing woman, 18-year-old Traci Genereaux, were found on the farm on Oct. 21, with police and heavy equipment remaining on the property until Nov. 9. It was speculated that freezing temperatures and heavy snow may have hindered the search. Police have not confirmed cause of the woman’s death nor have any charges been laid in connection.
Four other women are missing from the Shuswap, two from nearby Yankee Flats Road.
Related link: Families of missing Shuswap women call for action
The farm is owned by the father of Curtis Wayne Sagmoen, who has been charged with six offences stemming from an August incident involving a sex trade worker near Falkland. Sagmoen remains in custody and is next scheduled to appear in Vernon court via video on Dec. 14.
“About a dozen of them (police) were walking the property for a couple of days,” the Silver Creek resident said of a property next to the Sagmoen farm.
“A big black command unit was parked there for a day.”
The resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the police were seen there about a week ago, and heavy machinery can be heard working in the direction of the Sagmoen farm. They couldn’t confirm if it was being operated by police.
Related link: Police canvass area for missing woman
As the pain for the families of the Shuswap women continues, on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m., the Murdered and Missing Women Drone Search Team will walk with a banner in remembrance of the violence that has occurred for the women impacted by the Montreal Massacre and the local five missing women, says Jody Leon, a dedicated activist. They include Caitlin Potts (last seen on Enderby/Grindrod Road and Orchard Park Mall in Kelowna) and Ashley Simpson and Deanna Wertz (last seen on Yankee Flats Road) and Nicole Bell (last seen in Sicamous). Traci Genereaux will also be remembered.
Related link: Missing woman smart, courageous
Leon said candles will be carried from the Enderby/Grindrod Road on a walk to the Splatsin Community Center. The women will be remembered by hand drumming and candles. She says the women deserved to live their lives with their families and violence is unacceptable. Leon says all women need to have advocates to raise awareness of what has happened to them, and to raise the voice of respect and equality.
Also on Dec. 6, the Okanagan College Student Union, in collaboration with Okanagan College Aboriginal Services and the SAFE Society, will stand united against violence against women. A documentary film, Polytechnique, will be shown at 3 p.m., and Highway of Tears will be shown at 4:45. A candlelight vigil will begin at 6:15. The community is welcome, light refreshments will be provided.