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Family members, supporters step up efforts for missing North Okanagan women

Walk organizers Jody Leon and Meagan Louis.
Image Credit: Contributed/ Jody Leon
May 23, 2017 - 6:30 PM

ENDERBY - Roughly 100 people took part in a walk to honour missing and murdered women in the Okanagan over the weekend.

Participants marched in one of three simultaneous walks that started in Enderby, Vernon, and Lake Country on Saturday, May 20, co-organizer Jody Leon says.

Three women living in the North Okanagan went missing last year, and the walk was held to raise awareness about their unsolved cases, Leon says.

The missing women are Caitlin Potts, Ashley Simpson and Deanna Wertz. Many family members, including Caitlin’s mother and siblings, and Ashley’s father, travelled to the Okanagan to participate.

In addition to the walk, families and volunteers conducted a ground search and stopped drivers at the Bawtree Bridge in Enderby to hand out missing posters on May 21 and May 22.

Despite media coverage, Leon says many people were still not aware there are three women missing in the area.

“Some people were actually crying,” Leon says.

She says some people even offered to help and left their contact information should future ground searches be held. Leon adds that awareness was raised beyond the local level due to the amount of tourists in the area for the long weekend.

The group also canvassed drivers for unreported tips, and Leon says they obtained some valuable information and passed it onto police.

“Out of that came some significant things, we feel,” Leon says.

A meeting was held with the RCMP this morning, May 23, to share information and get an update on the case, Leon says. She felt investigators were respectful, but is hoping they do more, including a river search for Caitlin.

“I think they were definitely listening to what we said,” Leon says.

Priscilla Potts, Caitlin’s mother, attended the meeting with police and hopes more will be done to find out what happened to her daughter, who is believed to have been murdered. She came from Edmonton to participate in the walk and search, and says it will be difficult leaving.

“I don’t want to leave because I haven’t found her yet,” Potts says.

Leon says anyone wanting to help the families out is encouraged to donate gas money, bus tickets, and other travel necessities to enable them to return to the area and search for their loved ones.

“It’s very draining emotionally and financially for these families,” she says.

Anyone wanting to help or donate can visit the following pages:

Missing Caitlin Potts

Bring Ashley Simpson Home

Searching for Deanna Wertz


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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