Mounties warn against speculation as search intensifies on B.C. farm

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Mounties searching a rural north Okanagan property where human remains have been found are cautioning the public not to jump to conclusions about links to several missing women investigations in the region.

RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk told reporters Wednesday he’s aware of the speculation surrounding the search on Salmon River Road, but the remains have yet to be identified.

“Until these remains have been positively identified, it’s too early in the investigation to say whether the discovery is linked or not to any ongoing missing persons investigation,” Moskaluk said.

“We can appreciate the families that are affected by ongoing missing persons investigations … [are] being impacted by what’s going on here today. Our investigators are keeping them appraised of the developments and are offering them the support that’s required.”

At least five women have gone missing in the region since early 2016. A neighbour has told CBC News that sex workers had frequented the Salmon River Road area between Salmon Arm and Vernon in recent months.

Investigators have yet to reveal whether the remains found on the Sagmoen family farm belong to one or more persons. The discovery is considered suspicious, but RCMP won’t say if they have a suspect.

Traci Genereaux and Nicole Bell

Traci Genereaux, left, and Nicole Bell both went missing in B.C. in 2017. Genereaux is a Vernon resident, last heard from on May 29. Bell was last seen in Sicamous on Sept. 2.

Moskaluk said more heavy equipment and forensic specialists were brought in Wednesday to help with the search, which began last Thursday. A new white forensic tent could also be seen from the road leading up to the property.

The property is about 9.7 hectares in size, with numerous outbuildings, and investigators are not yet able to say when the search will end.

“It’ll take us as much time as it takes to do the job properly,” Moskaluk said.

Police are working with the owners of the farm to relocate their livestock while the investigation continues.

Moskaluk added that he appreciates the patience of the surrounding community as officers continue their work on the farm.

“We can understand the angst this kind of situation is causing,” he said.

Warrant sealed

The warrant that led to the investigation on Salmon River Road has been sealed by the court, and Moskaluk wouldn’t reveal any information about what prompted police attention there or at a second search site 15 kilometres to the northeast, near Springbend Road and Highway 97B.

Three women missing

Clockwise from L: Ashley Simpson (ashleysimpson.com); Caitlin Potts (RCMP); Deanna Wertz (RCMP)

Earlier this month, the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP issued a public warning to women and sex workers, saying they were investigating an Aug. 28 incident in which a woman reported she had been threatened by a man with a gun.

Investigators believe the woman had arranged a meeting with a man in the area of Salmon River Road using a website popular with sex workers and escorts.

Thirty-six-year-old Curtis Wayne Sagmoen faces multiples charges, including firearms offences and uttering threats, in connection with that investigation. His family owns the farm at the heart of the investigation.

Sagmoen is scheduled to appear in court Thursday on those charges.

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Mounties warn against speculation as search intensifies on B.C. farm

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