Meagan Louis, Jody Leon, Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson and other drummers lead a song at a rally on Sunday, Oct. 22 in Silver Creek condemning violence against women. - Image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

Meagan Louis, Jody Leon, Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson and other drummers lead a song at a rally on Sunday, Oct. 22 in Silver Creek condemning violence against women. - Image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

End of Silver Creek search leaves many questions

Police leave farm, while missing women supporters plan drone searches in region, awareness events.

Meagan Louis echoes the sentiments of many people with regard to the RCMP ending their search of the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek.

“As a citizen I feel like we’re kind of left in the dark and the police aren’t releasing any information.”

Like many people, she wonders how Traci Genereaux died and when charges will be laid.

“I’m sure the family wants answers, more closure. I’m wondering if it was because of the weather – the ground has frozen and they can’t search anymore, or because they’ve found everything they’re searching for. It’s easy to speculate because they’ve stopped.”

Related story: Police call off search at Silver Creek farm

She said Traci Genereaux’s family will be holding a Celebration of Life for Traci on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. at the Upper Room Mission in Vernon.

Louis said the family would like family and friends of Traci, and people who would just like to pay their respects to the family, to attend.

It will also be a memorial vigil, she says.

Louis is an activist regarding missing and murdered women, attending and organizing walks and rallies to try to get more action from governments and to find closure for the families involved.

On Thursday, Nov. 16, Jody Leon, another dedicated advocate, and Louis will be holding a banner drop about 5:30 p.m. from the Salmon River bridge near the junction of Yankee Flats Road and Salmon River Road. Nov. 16 is the birthday of Ashley Simpson, one of four women still missing from the Shuswap. The other women are Caitlin Potts, Deanna Wurtz and Nicole Bell. Along with honouring Ashley’s birthday, the banner drop will be for missing and murdered women who are gone but not forgotten, as well as justice for Traci. The group will then do a caravan for those who would like to go to the spot where Nicole Bell was last seen in Sicamous and pass out flyers regarding her disappearance.

The idea is to have a grassroots gathering, to say “all women’s lives matter,” says Louis.

Related link: Silver Creek farm search has parents anxious for answers

Ashley’s father John held a fundraiser in Ontario to aid in the search and, with the money raised, he purchased a drone, Louis says, which he sent to Leon.

The women have formed a drone operating team – the drone operating group for murdered and missing women searches, Leon explains. Right now they’re recruiting people with expertise and forming strategies about what will happen as they move forward.

“Those are just for areas we can’t reach on foot,” she says, noting the group would like to look at areas where the women were last seen.

They held a first meeting Friday, and hope to fundraise to help purchase more equipment to aid their endeavours.

Anyone interested in attending the next meeting should contact either Leon or Louis, joyce_royce@hotmail.com or meaganlouis31@gmail.com.

Related link: Walking for missing women

Leon and Louis would also like to put together a rally for Thursday, Nov. 23 at 10 a.m. on the steps of the Vernon courthouse.

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen, 36, who lived on the farm on Salmon River Road which was the subject of the intensive police search, will be appearing in court in connection with charges stemming from August in Falkland of: disguising face with the intent to commit an offence; intentionally discharging a firearm while reckless; uttering threats; careless use or storage of a firearm; possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and possession of a controlled substance.

Louis said it won’t be a protest, but simply an action to end violence against women.

Related link: Man in custody linked to Silver Creek property

With regard to Traci Genereaux and the four women missing from the Shuswap, Leon hopes the answers will come quickly for Genereaux’s family, as well as spark a renewed call for answers on behalf of the missing women.

“That the people don’t give up, that they’re continuing to call for action… and that doesn’t end because the investigation has stopped at that point on the farm.”

There are still many women missing and, to this day, women continue to go missing, Leon says, pointing out a young woman in Lillooet, Lacey Thom, went missing just a couple of days ago.

Leon says Lacey’s parents are really good community members who have helped a lot of people.

“It goes to show, again, it can happen to anybody. You wake up one day, you have children in your life, and one day they’re gone.”

She urges people to continue to say to MLAs, the government, the police: ‘We support you – let’s get this done…”

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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