No more stolen sisters

The birthday this week of a woman who's been missing in the Shuswap since last year has prompted a call to action.

A local group committed to remembering missing and murdered indigenous women is urging people to come out to a rural event on Thursday evening in the hopes that Ashley Simpson, and other missing women, will not be forgotten.

Simpson is a white woman who went missing from the Salmon Arm area in April 2016. Nov. 15 would have marked her 33rd birthday.

“This is another birthday where she is not with us and her family is missing her terribly,” said Meagan Louis, one of the organizers of the event.

Simpson is one of four women missing in the North Okanagan and Shuswap regions. The others include Caitlin Potts, Deanna Wertz and Nicole Bell. The remains of another missing female, 18-year-old Traci Genereaux, were recently identified after being dug up at a Silver Creek farm.

The event is being held on Nov. 16, the day after Simpson's birthday, at 5:30 p.m. at Salmon River bridge on Heywood-Armstrong Road, outside the Spalllumcheen boundary.

The bridge was damaged by spring flooding but is still accessible to pedestrians, said Louis.

A banner reading 'No More Stolen Sisters' will be strung along the bridge.

Following that, a caravan will be formed which will pass by each area where the women were last seen.

Two other public events are planned in the coming weeks.

Traci Genereaux's family is holding a celebration of life at the Upper Room Mission on Nov. 21 at 1 p.m.

“This is a flower and candle vigil so anybody at all who would like to come is invited to lay flowers, light a candle, put down artwork. Her family, her friends, even people who have heard about her on the news and have been touched by it.”

On Nov. 23, at 9:30 a.m., a rally protesting violence against women will be held on the steps of the Vernon courthouse.

That date also marks the next court appearance of Curtis Wayne Sagmoen, 36, who has six counts against him in connection with an Aug. 28 incident near Falkland where a sex worker alleges she was threatened with a gun before escaping.

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