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'Not a single answer or clue' in case of North Okanagan woman who went for a hike and never returned

Deanna Wertz, 46, was last seen July 19, 2016.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/RCMP
May 04, 2017 - 10:46 AM

NORTH OKANAGAN - As the weather warms up and people begin heading out into the North Okanagan backcountry, the family of a missing woman is asking hikers and quadders to keep an eye out for any trace of Deanna Wertz.

Wertz was last seen July 19, 2016 at her home on Yankee Flats Road. She told family she was going for a hike that day in the hills behind her house — something she did often — but no one has seen her since.

“The most frustrating part is there are so many questions and not a single answer or clue to anything,” her sister Alanna Wertz says.

Police do not believe Wertz met with foul play, but Alanna admits that’s something that has crossed her mind.

“Of course, as family and friends, that’s a question that has come up. We’ve asked quite a few times, but we’ve been told there is no sign of struggle around her home at all,” Alanna says.

Two other women went missing around the same time; Caitlin Potts and Ashley Simpson. Simpson was living on the same street as Wertz — Yankee Flats Road. Police suspect foul play is involved in the Potts and Simpson cases, however they do not believe any of the missing women cases are connected.

“That was our first reaction, that the cases were connected,” Alanna says. “The more time goes on, I do not believe they are linked. It’s just a very odd coincidence they live close together. Ashley and Deanna were neighbours.”

Right now, the most likely scenario the family can think of is that Deanna went for a hike and was injured, or attacked by an animal.

Alanna says the family is desperate to find at least some answers about what happened to Deanna nine months ago.

“The wintertime was really tough. The thought crawls through your mind, ‘there’s snow on the ground and I haven’t found her,’” Alanna says.

Extensive efforts including police service dogs, aircraft resources, and search and rescue teams have been used to scour the wilderness off Yankee Flats Road. None have been successful.

In April 2017, Wertz’s family joined RCMP officers in a flyover of the area that was searched.

“We realized how big of an area is out there. It’s huge,” Alanna says. “After the flight we sat down with investigators to figure out, maybe we could try and get more bodies out there to search again.”

The area is popular with hikers and quadders, and family are asking that anyone visiting the area keep an eye out for signs of Deanna.

“We want everyone to be aware there’s a missing woman out there,” Alanna says.

Hiking landmarks in the specific area of interest include Spa Creek, Spa Lake, Williams Road, Lionel Road and Watson Road.

Deanna Wertz is described as roughly 130 lbs., with brown eyes, dark brown shoulder length hair and a dark complexion.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Deanna Mildred Wertz is urged to contact their local police detachment, 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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