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Families of missing women in North Okanagan gather to demand answers

Priscilla Potts and John Simpson hold missing posters for their daughters May 19, 2017 in Enderby.
May 19, 2017 - 2:08 PM

ENDERBY - The families of Caitlin Potts, Ashley Simpson and Deanna Wertz aren’t giving up the fight to find their loved ones.

Caitlin’s siblings and mother, Priscilla, were joined by Ashley’s father John today, May 19, in Enderby to meet for the first time, share information and raise the profile of the cases. They were joined by Dale Wertz, Deanna’s brother, who attended the media conference by phone.

All three women disappeared last year. Their bodies have not been found.

Potts’ family travelled to Enderby from Alberta, while John Simpson came from his home in St. Catharine’s, Ont.

“It takes a lot of money and a lot of energy to come out here and find your children,” John says. “It’s not fair to us that we have to do this on our own with no, and I mean, no response from police on what’s going on with these cases.”

The RCMP does not suspect any of the cases are connected, despite the timing and close vicinity of the women to each other. Ashley and Deanna were in fact neighbours on Yankee Flats Road, while Caitlin lived with her boyfriend in the Enderby area.

“I need more answers. That’s why we’re here,” Priscilla says.

Deanna’s brother Dale says the past ten months have been extremely frustrating.

“There’s been no leads, no answers. The investigation is just going really slowly and lack of communication with them (investigators),” Dale says.

The families are exchanging information with each other about what areas have already been searched and what clues they’ve found.

“I act on every lead I get,” John says.

The families are asking anyone with unreported information to contact police.

“As a family, we all think about the same thing — where, why, how come?” John says.

He’s determined to find his daughter, and whoever might be responsible for what happened to her.

“All I’ve got to say is who will be next? If we don’t find these people who are responsible, it could be your daughter, could be your wife, could be your son — it could be anybody,” he says.

Community members Meagan Louis and Jody Leon have organized a walk to honour missing and murdered indigenous women, which is set for this Saturday, May 20. Starting at 7 a.m., participants will begin a walk from three locations: Yankee Flats Road, Safeway in Vernon and Pelmewash Parkway in Lake Country. Each leg of the walk represents one of the three missing women.

“We’re hoping to get the message across to people, do not forget about these women,” Leon says.

Detailed event information can be found here.

Anyone with information about any of the women is urged to contact their local police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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