Sex workers made frequent visits to the rural area surrounding a north Okanagan property where investigators uncovered human remains this weekend, a neighbour has revealed.
The man, whom CBC News has agreed not to name, said he called police last month after noticing the footprints of a woman who appeared to be in distress.
"One young lady was running away," he said. "We saw her tracks. First, she drove and went in the ditch and then we saw that she ran up the hill — really, really hard, barefooted ... We reported that right away, because we knew something was happening."
Police have not confirmed the neighbour's story.
Investigators have been searching a nearby property on Salmon River Road, between Salmon Arm and Vernon, since last Thursday. Human remains were uncovered on Saturday, but police have not identified them or revealed whether they belong to one or more people.
According to the neighbour, there had been suspicious activity in the area for months.
"Girls coming out here, prostitutes coming out and using our address. And we weren't the ones that made the phone calls — someone else was using our address. That's why we got involved as much as we did," he said.
Warning to sex workers
Earlier this month, the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP issued a public warning to women and sex workers, saying they were investigating an Aug. 28 incident in which a woman reported she had been threatened by a man with a gun.
Investigators believe the woman had arranged a meeting with a man in the area of Salmon River Road, using a website popular with sex workers and escorts.
Thirty-six-year-old Curtis Wayne Sagmoen faces multiples charges, including firearms offences and uttering threats, in connection with that investigation.
The property at the centre of the police search is owned by Sagmoen's family. Police will not say if he is a suspect in their investigation into the found human remains or if they have a suspect in that case.
A second search is underway 15 kilometres to the northeast, near Springbend Road and Highway 97B.
'I am impatiently waiting'
At least five women have gone missing in the region since early 2016, including Ashley Simpson, Caitlin Potts, Nicole Bell, Deanna Wertz and Traci Genereaux.
Potts' sister, Codi, told CBC News there has been no indication her sister's case is connected to the ongoing search.
Still, she's worried — Caitlin Potts was working as an escort in the area at the time of her disappearance, according to her sister.
"Honestly I am impatiently waiting. I just want to know whose body was found. I am just so scared that it is my sister," Codi Potts said.
Police say their search of the Salmon River Road property is expected to last for several more days.
With files from Briar Stewart