Missing Vernon girl’s DNA to be compared to remains found on farm

Dad of missing Vernon girl says police asked for DNA to test against remains found in Silver Creek

The father of a missing woman says police told him his DNA would be tested against remains found on a farm in British Columbia that is the subject of a large-scale search.

Darcy Genereaux said he was asked to give blood last week as part of the investigation into the disappearance of his daughter, Traci Genereaux, who was 18 when she was last seen in May in Vernon.

As he was giving his blood, he said a constable told him the coroner would test it to see if his DNA matched remains found on a north Okanagan property that is the subject of the police search.

“I’d still rather her not be there. I’d like to know she’s still somewhere out having fun and safe,” Genereaux said on the phone from Vernon.

“It doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case. There are a couple of ways to look at it. One is that we’ll get some closure, I guess. But it’s definitely not the closure I’m looking for.”

RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk would not confirm that the DNA request was linked to the search of the property.

“Multiple investigative steps have been taken, which is common during these types of investigations. And we have no further specifics to discuss at this time,” he said in an email.

Genereaux questioned why his DNA was not taken six months ago when his daughter disappeared if it’s common practice.

“It’s kind of leaning heavily towards me thinking you found my baby girl out there,” he said.

Police began scouring the rural property on Salmon River Road south of Salmon Arm earlier this month. On Oct. 21, they announced human remains had been found.

Moskaluk said the search is ongoing.

A forensics team specializing in recovering evidence was brought in to help last week and Moskaluk said the RCMP’s underwater recovery team has been conducting searches of the Salmon River, which runs through the 10-hectare property.

A title search shows the property is owned by Wayne and Evelyn Sagmoen.

It is not know whether they are related to Curtis Wayne Sagmoen, who was charged Oct. 17 with disguising his face with intent to commit an offence, uttering threats and weapons offences.

The charges came after police issued a warning to “the general public and women sex workers” about a possible risk around Salmon River Road after a incident on Aug. 28 when a woman was allegedly threatened with a firearm.

Sagmoen’s lawyer, Lisa Jean Helps, declined comment after her client appeared in court last week in Vernon.

“We are expecting that this may take some time to work its way through the justice system and we look forward to this all being litigated in front of a court of competent jurisdiction,” she said.

Sagmoen is scheduled to appear in court in Vernon on Nov. 23.

Five women have gone missing in the same area of the north Okanagan in the past 20 months.

Police have not linked the property search with any ongoing investigation or with the public warning.

Genereaux said his daughter had been splitting her time between his house and her mother’s home, which are five to 10 minutes apart on foot.

He last saw her on the afternoon of May 29 when she stepped out to get a telescope from her mom’s place.

“We were going to sit outside and watch the stars that night,” he said.

When she didn’t return, he thought she had decided to stay with her mom. He began to worry a couple days later when he phoned her mother and learned she wasn’t there.

A friend of his daughter’s then phoned him to say he had seen her speaking to a man in a white van outside Vernon’s bottle depot on May 29.

Genereaux said his daughter had made some poor decisions in the past but she was getting her life on track. She had begun volunteering at the SPCA and wanted to be a veterinarian, he said.

Her 19th birthday was on Oct. 4. Her favourite colour was purple, Genereaux said, so as a tribute he dyed some of his hair violet, while his 21-year-old son dyed his whole head.

He said his daughter is artistic, funny and loud.

“She got out of her bad decisions, got back to being happy and she was the life of the party. She didn’t need a party, she was just the life of it,” he said.

— Follow @ellekane and @gkarstenssmith on Twitter

Laura Kane and Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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