British Columbia

'I have never locked my doors': north Okanagan community shaken by discovery of human remains

A rural community between Vernon and Salmon Arm is shaken as a police investigation into human remains found on a farm continues.

RCMP made grim discovery while executing search warrant on Saturday

RCMP vehicles are parked at a Salmon Arm property where human remains were discovered. (Briar Stewart/CBC)

A rural, north Okanagan community is in shock as police continue to investigate human remains found at a rural property on Saturday.

"It's an eerie, eerie feeling. Things like this just don't happen in this peaceful community," said Carmen Holloway, who said she lives just three minutes away from where the search is taking place.

"I have never locked my doors, I just never felt the need to. It's put a different perspective on things."

Mounties began executing a search warrant in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road in the Silver Creek area, between Salmon Arm and Vernon, on Thursday. The remains were found two days later.

Holloway said someone was living on the property and they had animals, but that she never saw them.

"I've driven by here many times and have never seen any activity, never seen anything in the yard," she said.

Holloway said many community members have been stopping by, some bringing binoculars to get a glimpse of an area in the far corner of a pasture, where white tents blocked off by black fencing have been set up by RCMP. 

"It's a peaceful little community and now there's all kinds of police activity and, you know, it just doesn't seem real," she said.

2nd search continues

Police won't say if the remains discovered are of one individual or numerous. 

Last year, three women disappeared from the North Okanagan-Shuswap region.

Two of them lived on a road that runs parallel to where this RCMP investigation is unfolding.

RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said a second search has been ongoing near Springbend Road and Highway 97B since earlier this week, 15 kilometres northeast of the Salmon River Road property.

The property at which the remains were found is on the same road that was the subject of a recent police warning, after a man allegedly threatened a woman with a gun in August.

A man by the name of Curtis Wayne Sagmoen was charged with firearms offences and other charges in connection with that investigation. He remains in custody. 

RCMP would not say whether Sagmoen is a suspect in the investigation of human remains.

Moskaluk said the discovery is "suspicious," but are not calling it a homicide. Police said there is no risk to the public at this time.

"With this size of an investigation, you wonder," said Holloway. "I hope if it's to do with women that are missing, that there be some closure for the families."

"It's a horrible feeling, I've been here 31 years and never seen anything likes this."

Human remains were found at a property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road, about 25 kilometres south of Salmon Arm, on Saturday. RCMP have been at the scene for four days executing a search warrant. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

With files from Rhianna Schmunk and Brady Strachan