The British Columbia Triangle
Missing Women of the Northern Okanagan
In the first two installments of this series, we explored thirteen missing persons cases from the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada. Last week, looked at some of the native legends surrounding this mysterious region, which cast an eerie light upon the unsolved disappearances that have taken place there. In this video, we’re going to investigate five more disappearances that have occurred in the area very recently, at the northeastern vertex of the British Columbia Triangle.
Whether or not the disturbing native legends surrounding the British Columbia Triangle have any bearing upon the vanishings endemic to the region is a matter of conjecture. Perhaps the traditions of the Interior Salish hold the key to the secrets of the Middle Fraser Basin, or perhaps the unsolved disappearances that have taken place there all have rational explanations. Whatever the case, people continue to vanish in the region to this very day, and are doing so at an unprecedented rate.
Over the past few years, two distinct waves of disappearances have swept through BCs Interior Plateau, one involving only men, and the other involving only women. The male disappearances are concentrated around the eastern Fraser watershed, in an area roughly 40 miles (64 kilometres) southwest of Kamloops. We’ll investigate these disappearances in the final installment of this series. The female disappearances, on the other hand, are concentrated in northern Okanagan Country roughly 55 miles (90 kilometres) southeast of Kamloops, at the eastern edge of one of the cluster points identified by David Paulides.
February 22, 2016; Kelowna
In a 19-month period between 2016 and 2017, five women from rural areas around the city of Salmon Arm mysteriously vanished. Although the RCMP officers investigating the disappearances have stated that there is no evidence indicating the cases are connected, local media outlets, women’s advocacy groups, and some of the victims’ family members are certain that the women were victims of foul play, and many seem to be levying their accusations against a single suspect.
The first of the ladies to disappear was 27-year-old Caitlin Brandy Potts, who lived in a rural area just east of the tiny city of Enderby, located about 9 miles (15 kilometres) southeast of Salmon Arm. Although Caitlin did not necessary disappear from the same tiny corner of British Columbia from which the other four women vanished, her name has become inextricably linked with theirs on account of the fact that her residence was located within the same 13-kilometre radius in which the other disappearances occurred.
Caitlin Potts was a member of the Samson First Nation, a Cree Indian band from the community of Hobbema (now called Maskwacis), located south of Edmonton, Alberta. In late 2015, Caitlin left Alberta and relocated to Enderby, where she lived with a man named Jason Hnatiuk, with whom she had once lived back in Edmonton. Although both the media and members of Caitlin’s family have identified Hnatiuk as Caitlin’s boyfriend, Hnatiuk himself has publically denied that allegation.
By all accounts, Potts and Hnatiuk had a turbulent relationship which was punctuated by several temporary separations. Back in August 2014, when Potts and Hnatiuk were both living in Edmonton, Hnatiuk was accused of assaulting Potts with a weapon- a charge of which an Albertan court later found him guilty. Sometime after the incident, Potts took up residence in a women’s shelter in Salmon Arm. There are conflicting accounts as to where Caitlin was staying at the time of her disappearance; some claim that she had moved back in with Hnatiuk, who lived on a rural property just east of Enderby, while others contend that she was living in Salmon Arm with a roommate whom she had met at the women’s shelter.
On Sunday, February 21st, 2016, at about 1:30 in the afternoon, a security camera captured Caitlin Potts entering the Hudson’s Bay store in the Orchard Park Mall in the southern Okanagan city of Kelowna, located about 50 miles (80 kilometres) south of Enderby. Caitlin’s presence in the “Orchard City”, as Kelowna is sometimes affectionately referred to, was not unusual, as she often travelled throughout British Columbia and Alberta, and was known to have connections in the area.
The following day, on February 22nd, Caitlin sent a Facebook message to her younger sister, Codi. Codi lived in Edmonton, and Caitlin planned to pay her a visit. In her message, Caitlin claimed to have met someone on Kijiji (a Canadian classified advertising website) who agreed to drive her to Calgary, Alberta- the first leg of the journey to Edmonton. That was the last time any of Caitlin’s family members ever heard from her.
Eight days later, on March 1st, Caitlin’s mother, Priscilla, reported Caitlin’s disappearance to the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. On March 21st, twenty days after the missing person report was filed, the RCMP posted an official alert on their website in which they stated that “the RCMP Major Crimes Unit is now assisting Vernon North Okanagan RCMP with the investigation of Potts”. The Southeast District MCU’s involvement in the case seemed to indicate that the Mounties had reason to believe that there was a criminal element to Potts’ disappearance.
Three months later, Priscilla Potts, having lost faith in the RCMP’s investigation, contacted the Shuswap Nation and the Okanagan Nation Alliance in B.C. and implored them to conduct their own private search for her daughter. The First Nations responded to her entreaty by searching the woods around Enderby, easterly Mabel Lake, the Shuswap River, and the northerly community of Grindrod for any sign of the missing woman. Their efforts were in vain.
In April 2017, ten months after Caitlin Potts’ disappearance, RCMP media relations officer Staff Sergeant Annie Linteau publically stated that the RCMP believe that Potts was likely murdered. Linteau concluded her press release with the cryptic words, “investigators do not believe Caitlin Potts left the Okanagan before her death. Previous reports that she was travelling to Calgary, Alberta, have not been substantiated.” The RCMP’s statement accords with another unsubstantiated rumour that Potts was dropped off outside Enderby by the mysterious man with whom she may have caught a ride in Kelowna.
To date, Caitlin Potts’ body has not been found, and her fate remains a mystery.
April 27, 2016; Yankee Flats Road
On April 27th, 2016, nearly two months after Caitlin Potts’ disappearance, a 32-year-old woman named Ashley Simpson disappeared after leaving her boyfriend’s travel trailer on Yankee Flats Road, a rural backroad located about 10 miles (16 kilometres) east of Enderby.
Originally from St. Catherines, Ontario, Ashley Simpson began working as a seasonal assistant cook and receptionist at two hotels in northeastern British Columbia in 2014. The first of these establishments was the Sasquatch Crossing Lodge, a lonely stopping place on the Alaska Highway a two-hours’ drive northwest of Fort St. John, while the other was the affiliated Buffalo Inn, a slightly more luxurious establishment located five minutes away from Sasquatch Crossing. She worked alongside her father, a professional cook named John Simpson, while her boyfriend, Derek Favell, worked for an oilfield service company across the highway from the Sasquatch Crossing Lodge.
Sometime in early 2016, Ashley and her boyfriend drove south down the BC Highway 97, the longest highway in the province, living out of Favell’s travel trailer. They eventually stopped on Yankee Flats Road outside the city of Enderby, at the rural home of Favell’s old friend, Brent Cox. Cox was a single father of three who lived in a house on Yankee Flats Road with his children. At Favell’s request, Cox allowed the couple to temporarily park their mobile home on his property and stay there while they figured out their next move.
On April 27th, 2016, following a trip to a waterfall northwest of Salmon Arm called Syphon Falls, Ashley Simpson had a loud argument with Derek Favell on the subject of money. The fight was so audible that Cox, who was trying to put his kids to bed, came out of his house and asked the couple to quiet down. According to Favell, the argument ended when Simpson stormed off in a rage. Favell himself reportedly retreated to the trailer to cool down.
Derek Favell fell asleep in the camper without seeing his girlfriend again that night. “[When] I woke up in the morning,” he later told the press, “I thought Brent had [driven] her into town or [taken] her down to someone’s to go spend a couple days. She had done [that] before, where she had taken off at night, and we had to get someone to go pick her up because she was walking. I kind of figured that she had done the same thing.”
Between 7:30 and 8:00 that morning, Favell received two texts from Ashley in which she stated that their relationship was over. She also informed Favell that she planned to head to her parents’ home in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and work with her father again, but as she didn’t have the means to travel there by bus, she would probably have to hitchhike. That was the last time anyone ever heard from Ashley Simpson.
Sometime after Ashley’s departure, Favell became concerned that his ex-girlfriend was not responding to his text messages, and texted one of her cousins to see if she had heard from her. The cousin, who had not had any recent contact with Simpson, alerted Ashley’s mother, Cindy. Alarmed by her daughter’s uncharacteristic silence, Cindy Simpson subsequently reported Ashley’s disappearance to the RCMP.
On May 19th, 2016, three weeks after her disappearance, the RCMP Southeast District Major Crime Unit became involved in Simpson’s missing persons case- an indication that the Mounties suspected that Simpson may have fallen victim to foul play. In a press release, RCMP Media Relations officer Corporal Dan Moskaluk stated that “the investigation into Ashley’s disappearance has not come up with much information to date. Normally with missing persons matters… a good percentage of them are located in short order. We tend to get information on their whereabouts or information as to where they were last seen… With the case of Ashley Simpson, the lack of information and leads, leads us to believe that foul play may be a contributing factor in her disappearance.”
One cold morning later that month, a local woman named Kendra Toner and one of her friends drove up a remote, dead-end logging road in the Larch Hills east of Canoe, B.C., a rural community located just northeast of Salmon Arm, which hugs the southern shore of Shuswap Lake’s southeastern arm. The friends planned to hunt grouse. Near the end of the road, Toner claimed to have stumbled upon “a pile of clothing on the ground, lots of pink shirts, jeans. There were CDs, makeup, etc.” Among the miscellanea was a piece of mail with Ashley Simpson’s name on it. After searching the vicinity of the articles for any sign of Ashley, of whose disappearance they had heard on TV news, Toner and her friend headed back down the mountain and informed the RCMP of their discovery.
About a month later, the friends returned to the area and found the belongings in the same spot, although they now lay scattered in an even more haphazard fashion than before, and appeared to Toner as if they had been run over many times by some sort of vehicle. The envelope with Simpson’s name on it was one of the only items that appeared to be missing. The friends left the area with the impression that the RCMP had neglected to follow up the lead with which they had furnished them.
In early October 2016, Ashley Simpson’s case took another strange and troubling turn. Investigators found the missing woman’s driver’s licence in the tank of a sewage vacuum truck used by the Sasquatch Crossing Lodge in northeastern British Columbia, Ashley’s former place of employment.
“I think, years ago, Ashley told me somebody stole her ID…” John Simpson told reporters when they asked him for his reaction to the news. “And why the vac truck? I know the vac truck empties into a lagoon, [where the ID card] would never be found again… That leaves us to wonder a lot of questions, of course.”
On July 19th, 2016, less than three months after Ashley Simpson’s disappearance, 46-year-old Deanna Wertz, whose case we examined earlier in this series, vanished without a trace while hiking in the hills outside her home. Deanna’s residence was located just two doors down the road from Brian Cox’s property.
May 29, 2017; Vernon
The next woman to disappear in northern Okanagan Country was an 18-year-old Vernon girl named Traci Genereaux. According to her father, Darcy Genereaux, Traci had fallen in with a bad crowd in her early teens and made some poor decisions, becoming addicted to heroin and, in order to support her habit, descending into the shadowy underworld of the escort industry. After surviving a devastating car accident that nearly left her paralyzed, she began to turn her life around. She worked hard to overcome her addiction and began volunteering at the Vernon SPCA, taking a preliminary step on a hopeful road to one day becoming a veterinarian. By the spring of 2017, she was well on her way to recovery.
On May 29th, 2017, a local man named Bob Zimmerman, who knew Traci and had pushed her to get her life back on track, saw the eighteen-year-old climb into a white van in an alley outside a Vernon bottle depot. Aside from the vehicle’s mysterious driver, Zimmerman was the last man known to have seen Tracy alive.
Traci’s parents knew that something was terribly wrong when their daughter failed to contact them after a few days. Although Traci had run away from home in the past, she had always regularly kept in touch with them to let them know that she was safe. In a later interview, Traci’s elder sister, Kyla, told reporters, “I knew she would not have been out of contact with my mom this long. Or my dad. The fact that she was, I knew something was wrong…” Fearing for his daughter’s safety, Darcy Genereaux informed the local RCMP of her disappearance. In later interviews, he claimed that he had to make three missing person reports before the Mounties publicized his daughter’s case.
September 2, 2017; Malakwa
A little over three months after Traci Genereaux’s disappearance, a 31-year-old mother of three named Nicole Bell went missing in her hometown of Malakwa, located about ten miles northeast of the town of Sicamous, near the eastern shores of Shuswap Lake. Described as a “soccer-mom type”, Bell vanished on Saturday, September 2nd, 2017, while her husband was away from home on a business trip. According to one vague report, she was scheduled “to meet with an unknown male” on September 5th, three days after her disappearance.
The RCMP subsequently tracked Bell’s cellphone to a particular neighbourhood in Salmon Arm, where they went door to door asking residents if they remembered anything suspicious taking place during Labour Day weekend. Their efforts were for naught; Nicole Bell was never found, and her fate remains a mystery to this day.
Interestingly, both Nicole Bell and Traci Genereaux, at the time of their disappearances, were petite women with facial piercings who stood 4’11’’.
The Silver Creek Farm
On October 19th, 2017, the Vernon RCMP Southeast District Major Crimes Unit descended upon a 24-acre rural property about nine miles east of Enderby, armed with heavy duty equipment and a search warrant legally authorizing them to excavate the grounds. The property belonged to Wayne and Evelyn Sagmoen, a middle-aged couple who were popular with their neighbours, and who were famous in the regional cutting horse community, “cutting” being a rodeo sport in which the horseman separates individual cattle from the herd.
A small crowd of locals from the surrounding acreages soon gathered outside the property, watching with curiosity and disconcertion as the police erected tents, trailers, fencing, and high-powered lights around the farmhouse. Dozens of Mounties began walking slowly through the open field by the barn, sifting through the grass with poles, while divers equipped in SCUBA gear waded into Silver Creek, a watercourse which runs through the property. By the time reporters arrived on the scene, the police were digging holes on the property with a backhoe.
When questioned by the press, RCMP media spokesperson Corporal Dan Moskaluk said, “This investigative effort and execution of a search warrant is in relation to an ongoing investigation… No further information is being released at this time to ensure the integrity of the ongoing investigation.”
Despite the Mounties’ refusal to disclose the nature of said investigation or the grounds on which they had obtained their warrant, the reporters who covered the incident noted that the Sagmoen property lay on Salmon River Road, a quiet country backroad which runs parallel to Yankee Flats Road, on which both Deanna Wertz and Ashley Simpson were last seen. The property’s farmhouse was separated from the last known locations of both missing women by a mile-wide wooded hill. Naturally, the press suspected that the Mounties might be searching for the bodies of Wertz and Simpson, and in no time, local newspapers throughout northern Okanagan Country ran with stories in which these conjectures were implicitly voiced. The police responded to the rumours by phoning the families of the two missing women and informing them that the operation on the Silver Creek farm had nothing to do with their investigations into the disappearances of their loved ones.
The Mounties resumed their mysterious operation the following day, on October 20th, 2017. Before going about their business, they arrested the son of the property’s owner, a rough-looking 36-year-old pile driving foreman named Curtis Wayne Sagmoen.
Journalists subsequently interviewed some of the Sagmoen’s neighbours and learned that Curtis Sagmoen had been staying with his parents at the time, as he often did between jobs. The interviewees described the pile driver as strange and quiet, yet generally pleasant and polite. Many suspected that he was addicted to crystal meth on account of his haggard appearance and missing teeth.
Curtis Wayne Sagmoen
The arrest of Curtis Wayne Sagmoen was related to an incident that occurred at the Silver Creek property two months earlier, on August 28th, 2017. That incident was the latest episode in a succession of violent encounters between Sagmoen and various female escorts which render the subsequent discovery on his parent’s acreage all the more disturbing.
Curtis Sagmoen’s first clash with an escort occurred in his hometown of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, located at the easternmost end of the Greater Vancouver Regional District on the northern shores of the Fraser River. In 2013, the 33-year-old pile driver was living alone in one of the townhouses that comprise the Kanaka Creek Estates, a neighbourhood located near the city’s southeastern edge.
One cold winter night in January 2013, Sagmoen assaulted a female escort in his home- a charge to which he would later plead guilty. In a later reminiscence, one of Sagmoen’s neighbours recalled hearing shrieking outside his house that night and went out to investigate. He found Sagmoen standing over a screaming woman who was cowering on the concrete, bleeding from her head. The woman pleaded for help, claiming that Sagmoen had struck her with a hammer. Sagmoen attempted to justify his actions by retorting that she had stolen his belongings. The escort survived her injuries, and later charged the pile driver with assault.
Later that year, two different women were assaulted by what was presumably the same masked man on two different walking trails in southeastern Maple Ridge, both of which ran within a mile of Sagmoen’s townhouse. The first assault took place on the morning of Thursday, November 7th, 2013, when a man wearing a balaclava grabbed a young woman from behind on a wooded trail near 240th Street. The woman fought off her assailant and escaped without further incident.
About two hours before the assault, another young woman had been accosted by a similar-looking man while walking to Samuel Robertson Technical School, which was located on 104th Avenue nearby. The man had asked the woman where she was going, but the student did not respond.
Nineteen days later, on Tuesday, November 26th, a masked man assaulted another woman on the Vine Maple Trail in Kanaka Creek Regional Park, located about half a mile northwest of the site of the previous incident. The description she gave of the man who attacked her was identical to that furnished by the November 7th victim, leading the local Ridge Meadows RCMP to suspect that both women were attacked by the same man.
Some media outlets and women’s advocacy groups have suggested that Curtis Sagmoen might have been the masked man who perpetrated the Maple Ridge assaults on November 7th and November 26th, considering the close proximity of his residence to the crime scenes, as well as his subsequent criminal history. The profile that the RCMP created of the 2013 Maple Ridge attacker, however, calls this theory into question; according to the police, the attacker was a six-foot-tall Caucasian male in his forties who wore medium-length dark hair. Curtis Sagmoen stands 5’7’’, has light brown hair which he routinely keeps closely-cropped, and was 33-years-old in 2013.
Later that year, Sagmoen left Maple Ridge and moved onto his parent’s property on Salmon River Road, where he lived out of a travel trailer. For several years, his only brushes with the law constituted a handful of minor driving offences and a ticket he received in Terrace, B.C., for fishing illegally. Ominously, one of vehicle infractions with which Sagmoen was charged occurred in Vernon, B.C., on May 29th, 2017, the same day on which Traci Genereaux was last spotted climbing into a stranger’s van outside a Vernon bottle depot.
An anonymous female escort has claimed that, on July 1st, 2017, Curtis Sagmoen assaulted her with a weapon near his parents’ property on Salmon River Road.
Eighteen days later, exactly one year after Deanna Wertz disappeared from her home on Yankee Flats Road, Sagmoen solicited the services of another escort, whom he invited to his parents’ acreage. Before his guest arrived, Sagmoen laid a homemade wooden spike belt across his parents’ long dirt driveway. Predictably, the apparatus punctured the tires of the escort’s Jeep as she pulled up to the remote rural property. The woman immediately drove off and managed to make it to a repair shop where her tires were patched. She later charged Sagmoen for the damage he inflicted upon her vehicle, to which the pile driver pled guilty.
On August 10th, 2017, Sagmoen solicited the services of a third escort, whom he asked to meet him at his parents’ property. The woman later claimed that, upon arriving at the acreage and finding the gate locked, she texted Sagmoen and asked him to let her in. The 36-year-old pile driver arrived shortly thereafter, driving an all-terrain vehicle, and asked the woman to follow him down a narrow dirt trail that led into the woods. The trail was too narrow to accommodate the car and so, at Sagmoen’s insistence, the woman got out of her own vehicle and climbed onto the back of the man’s ATV. Sagmoen then offered the escort a drink from a bottle, which he claimed contained “sipping booze”. When she refused the beverage, Sagmoen allegedly pretended to take a sip of the liquor before slipping the bottle into his pocket.
Sagmoen drove the woman down the rough dirt road to the banks of Silver Creek. There, the escort demanded that she be paid for her services, whereupon Sagmoen suggested that they head to his trailer. With the escort riding behind him, Sagmoen drove back up the trail to the woman’s car, opened the gate to his parents’ property, and asked his guest to follow him in her own vehicle. The escort tried to do as requested, but couldn’t advance up the driveway on account of the mud. While Sagmoen attempted to push the vehicle out of the rut into which it had sunk, a neighbour who was out for a walk happened upon the pair. “I got the impression he wished I wasn’t there,” the man later said of Sagmoen while testifying in front of a Vernon jury.
When it became clear that the woman’s car would not budge, the escort got onto the back of Sagmoen’s ATV once again and rode with him up the long dirt driveway through the woods.
At a point on the trail near a steep cliff, Sagmoen’s quad slowed to a stop. The pile driver claimed that his ATV appeared to have stopped working, but the escort believed that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle, and that Sagmoen had brought it to a stop intentionally. Feeling uneasy about the situation, the woman declared that she was going to head back to her car. As she walked back down the road, she heard Sagmoen’s quad rev back to life.
“I thought he was just going to be a jerk and kick up some dust,” the woman later testified, “and I had moved to the edge to let him get by. Instead of going by me, he hit me square from behind, trying to hit me off the mountain. He hit me so hard I flipped over, and luckily I didn’t lose consciousness.”
The force of the impact broke the woman’s tailbone, gave her a concussion, and reputedly knocked the shoes off her feet. Dazed, the woman picked herself up off the ground and looked at Sagmoen, who she claimed was standing at the edge of the cliff, peering into the underbrush below as if he expected to see her body lying there.
“He just tried to kill me, in my eyes,” the woman said. “I just wanted to get away from him as quickly as possible.”
Sagmoen appeared startled when he saw the woman standing on the road behind the quad. He pleaded that he had run into her accidentally, and offered to pay her for her troubles. The woman proceeded to walk backwards down the hill towards her vehicle, never taking her eyes off her client. She got into her car and, after tricking the pile driver into believing that she would follow him to his trailer, drove home.
Eighteen days later, on August 28th, 2017, Sagmoen invited a fourth escort to his parents’ acreage. Similar to her unfortunate predecessor, the woman later claimed that, as she drove up to the property in her grey Mazda, she found that the driveway was blocked by a closed gate. She got out of her vehicle and walked over to the gate to open it when she heard rustling in the bushes. Suddenly, a masked man emerged from some nearby foliage holding a shotgun. The frightened woman raced to her vehicle with the stranger in hot pursuit. She got into her car and began to back up, hoping to make a quick U-turn, when the man jammed the barrel his gun through the open window. The woman frantically pushed the muzzle away from her, and in doing so, lost control of her vehicle. She crashed into a small bridge near the driveway and, unable to drive away, slipped out the passenger door, leaving her car running. In her haste, the woman kicked off her pink sandals and ran barefoot into some nearby brush.
The terrified woman hid in the foliage until daybreak before making her escape. “I was afraid he was going to shoot me,” she later said of the incident. “I’m forever grateful that I’m not dead.”
Bizarrely, for many months following the escort’s harrowing experience, one of the torn pink sandals the she left behind could be seen hanging by a string from the property’s address sign, eerily twisting in the breeze.
The last escort to have a brush with Curtis Wayne Sagmoen reported her experience to the RCMP. The Mounties followed up on the report and paid the pile driver a visit on September 5th, 2017. The police found methamphetamine on Sagmoen’s person and detained him for a day at the Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver, BC. The RCMP released the man the following day without laying charges. Shortly thereafter, they published a description of Sagmoen on their website and issued a statement warning escorts to avoid taking any work on Salmon River Road.
On October 20th, 2017, while the RCMP were searching his property, Curtis Wayne Sagmoen was arrested for the crimes he had allegedly committed on August 28th and detained in the prison at Oliver. The following day, the police found the body of a young women on his parent’s property, buried in a shadowy patch of grass at the edge of the woods.
On November 1st, the RCMP publically stated that the human remains they uncovered on the Sagmoen property were those of 18-year-old Traci Genereaux, who vanished from Vernon on May 29th. The police also stated that they considered Traci’s death suspicious. For many Canadians, the revelation evoked the not-so-distant trials of Robert “Willy” Pickton, Canada’s most prolific serial killer, who disposed of his victims’ bodies on his pig farm in Port Coquitlam, east of Vancouver, from 1983-2002. This comparison gave rise to rampant speculation that the bodies of Caitlin Potts, Ashley Simpson, Deanne Wertz, and Nicole Bell were also buried on the Sagmoen acreage, and that Curtis Wayne Sagmoen was a serial killer who preyed on vulnerable women in the Northern Okanagan.
To date, the RCMP have not charged Curtis Sagmoen with any offence related to the death of Traci Genereaux, and have repeatedly issued statements declaring that they are not aware of any evidence linking the pile driver to any of the missing persons cases in the Salmon Arm area. Nevertheless, certain segments of the Okanagan population remain convinced of his guilt. Members of a women’s advocacy group called the Battered Women’s Support Services, most of whom are indigenous, have staged several protests outside the Sagmoen property, and have stood outside the Vernon courthouse during his various trials associated with his 2017 assaults, holding posters on which the portraits of all five missing Okanagan women have been plastered. Family members of some of the missing women have personally searched the hills surrounding the Sagmoen property for their loved ones’ remains, and a non-profit search organization called Wings of Mercy has scoured the same area with drones in an attempt to help the bereaved find some closure. Even the RCMP, despite its reiterations that Sagmoen is not implicated in any of the disappearances of the five women from the Northern Okanagan, continues to display a keen interest in the former pile driver. On October 2nd, 2020, the Mounties raided the Salmon River Road property a second time, during which Curtis Sagmoen allegedly assaulted RCMP Corporal Gerry Kovacs- an offence for which he will likely soon stand trial.
Others who have speculated on the matter maintain that, while the discovery of Traci Genereaux’s body on the Silver Creek property certainly seems incriminating, there is little evidence to connect Curtis Sagmoen with the other missing women of the Northern Okanagan aside from the proximity of their disappearances to his parents’ property. Both Caitlin Potts and Ashley Simpson, some have pointed out, are known to have fought with their boyfriends just prior to their disappearances, and according to every major study conducted on the subject, more than half of all murdered women are killed by their romantic partners. In a similar vein, some armchair detectives have observed that the case of Deanna Wertz has many elements which distinguish it from its four counterparts; indeed, it is the only recent missing person case in the Northern Okanagan in which the RCMP do not believe foul play was involved. Whatever the case, we can only hope that the truth prevails; that the families of Northern Okanagan’s five missing women find the answers they deserve; and that justice, if justice indeed be warranted, is served.
The missing women of the Northern Okanagan are not the only recent victims of the British Columbia Triangle. Over the past few years, a number of young men have disappeared from the other side of the Interior Plateau under very mysterious circumstances. We’ll investigate these disappearances next week, in the fifth installment of this six-part series on the British Columbia Triangle.
Walking for Missing Women, by Martha Wickett in the May 22, 2017 issue of the Salmon Arm Observer
Missing & Murdered: The Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls, by CBC News
What Happened to Caitlin Potts? Mounties Still Looking for Answers 5 Years After B.C. Woman’s Disappearance, by Alyse Kotyk in the February 23, 2021 issue of CTV News: Vancouver
Missing Enderby Woman Didn’t Leave Okanagan Before She Died: Police, by Megan Turcato in the April 26, 2017 issue of Global News
Puzzling Disappearance: Five Years Later, Still No Answers about What Happened to Caitlin Potts, by Pete McIntyre in the February 23, 2021 issue of Vernon Matters
The Disappearance of Caitlin Potts, in the July 6, 2019 issue of Stories of the Unsolved
Boyfriend of Missing Okanagan Woman Convicted of Assaulting Her Before She Disappeared, by Megan Turcato in the May 30, 2017 issue of Global News
Curtis Wayne Sagmoen: As RCMP Search His Parents’ Farm, People Who Knew Him Are Speaking Out, by Lori Culbert, Kim Bolan, and Nick Eagland in the November 6, 2017 issue of the Vancouver Sun
Information Brought Forward Sparks Interest in New Search Efforts For Missing Woman Ashley Simpson, by Kelsie Kilawna in the November 14, 2020 issue of the Toronto Star
Walking for Missing Women, by Martha Wickett in the May 22, 2017 issue of the Salmon Arm Observer
Land Owner Assists with Ashley Simpson Investigation, by Tracy Hughes in the May 26, 2016 issue of the Salmon Arm Observer
Driver’s License of Missing Ashley Simpson Found in Northern BC, by Martha Wickett in the October 24, 2018 issue of the Vernon Morning Star
APTN Investigates Season 10: Dark Valley Holds Secrets, in the October 19, 2018 issue of ATPNnews.ca
More Details Emerge in Ashley Simpson Missing Person Case, by Megan Turcato in the May 24, 2016 issue of Global News
Missing Since April: Part 1, by Grant LaFleche in the January 11, 2017 issue of the St. Catharines Standard
Missing Since April: Part 2, by Grant LaFleche in the January 12, 2017 issue of the St. Catharines Standard
Missing Since April: Part 3, by Grant LaFleche in the January 13, 2017 issue of the St. Catharines Standard
Remains at Silver Creek Farm Those of Missing Vernon Teen, by Ashley Wadhwani and Carmen Weld in the November 1, 2017 issue of the Salmon Arm Observer
Rallies Planned at Trial for Assault on Sex Worker, by Nick Eagland in the February 2, 2019 issue of the Vancouver Sun
Traci Genereaux Had Been Turning Life Around When She Disappeared, Dad Says, by Laura Dhillon Kane in the November 3, 2017 issue of the Canadian Press
Candlelight Vigil Honours the Memory of Nicole Bell and Other Missing B.C. Women, by Jodi Brak in the November 4, 2018 issue of the Castlegar News
Update: Backhoe Used in Search of Silver Creek Property, by Lachlan Labere and Tracy Hughes in the October 19, 2017 issue of the Salmon Arm Observer
Police Seek Missing Woman, in the September 12, 2017 issue of the Salmon Arm Observer
Drones Take Off to Search for Missing North Okanagan Women, by Jim Elliot in the November 18, 2017 issue of the Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News
Surrey Police Canvass Salmon Arm Regarding Missing Woman, by Martha Wickett in the November 1, 2017 issue of the Kimberley Bulletin
Raid on Silver Creek Property
Backhoe Used in Search of Silver Creek Property, by Lachlan Labere and Tracy Hughes in the October 19, 2017 issue of the Salmon Arm Observer
Curtis Wayne Sagmoen
Message Warning Sex Trade Workers Scrawled on Road Near Sagmoen Farm, by Caitlin Clow in the March 16, 2021 issue of the Vernon Morning Star
Curtis Sagmoen Found Guilty of Running Over Sex Worker with ATV, by Caitlin Clow in the June 21, 2020 issue of the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows News
Escort Recounts Frightening Story in Vernon Sagmoen Trial, in the February 10, 2020 issue of the Vernon Morning Star
Curtis Sagmoen Found Guilty, to be Released for Time Served, by Caitlin Clow in the December 20, 2019 issue of the Vernon Morning Star
Sagmoen Neighbours Recall Alleged Hammer Attack, by Neil Corbett in the December 15, 2017 issue of the Boundary Creek Times
Another Woman Sexually Assaulted on Maple Ridge Trail, by Monisha Martins in the November 27, 2013 issue of the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows News