“IT WAS REALLY DISTURBING. THE BEATING SHE GOT… I JUST WANTED TO MAKE IT STOP”
The mother of a young woman missing for more than a year in the North Okanagan got to see her daughter earlier this month, but it wasn’t easy.
Priscilla Potts saw her daughter Caitlin being assaulted on video surveillance footage taken Aug. 24, 2014. The video was played in court during an assault trial May 15 and 16 in Edmonton for Caitlin’s former boyfriend, Jason Hnatiuk, 41.
Caitlin, 27, vanished in February of 2016 and police believe she was murdered. Her body has not been found and there have been no arrests.
According to information supplied by the RCMP, Hnatiuk was charged with assault with a weapon, breaching a no contact order, uttering threats and depriving a person of their property in relation to the Aug. 24, 2014 domestic assault, which happened at roughly 2 a.m. on Wayne Gretzky Drive, NW, at the Forum Hotel in Edmonton. The victim was Caitlin Potts.
On May 16, Hnatiuk was convicted of assault with a weapon and breaching his no contact order with Potts. He was found not guilty of the other charges.
Caitlin’s mother was present in court for the trial, and says it was difficult watching video surveillance footage of the assault.
“I felt like I was going to drop,” Priscilla says. “It was really disturbing. The beating she got… I just wanted it to stop.”
Priscilla, who travelled to Enderby earlier this month to desperately search for her daughter, says the video moved her to tears.
“I couldn’t believe she went through that physical abuse,” Priscilla says.
Hnatiuk is next due in court June 2 to fix a date for sentencing. He was released on conditions pending his sentence.
In spite of the abuse, Priscilla says Caitlin stayed with Hnatiuk and went to live with him in the Enderby area. Sources say police attended the Mabel Lake Road property where Hnatiuk and Caitlin had been living as recently as last Wednesday, May 24. Police have not confirmed this to iNFOnews.ca.
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk with the South East District RCMP would not say if Hnatiuk is a suspect in the ongoing murder investigation.
After this story was published, Hnatiuk contacted iNFOnews.ca to dispute some of the information. In a phone call, he said he was never Caitlin’s boyfriend, although at different points in the conversation called her a ‘friend’ and said they had been intimate. He pointed out that she was in the escort business, which has been confirmed by iNFOnews.ca. He also disputed that she was living with him, although she did stay with him for a time.
According to Hnatiuk, Caitlin had previously been assaulted by a relative and was having family problems when she left Alberta and came out to B.C. He says she asked if she could stay with him, and he told her no.
He says in November 2015, after telling her she couldn’t stay with him, Caitlin called 911 as a ‘fuck you.’ He says he didn’t hurt her, but was arrested due to the conditions he was on and spent a few days in jail.
After that, he says Caitlin went to stay at a women’s shelter in Salmon Arm, and later lived with a roommate.
When asked about the last time he saw or spoke to her, Hnatiuk said he couldn’t exactly remember.
In the phone call, Hnatiuk said he had been questioned by the police several times. He pointed out he is not facing any charges and said he has been cast in an unfair way.
— This story was updated at 1:26 p.m. June 1, 2017 to incude an interview with Jason Hnatiuk.
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