Candles will be lit in Caitlin Potts honour next month as wildfire activity halts plans for a search effort.
The flameless vigil will be held outside the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP detachment Aug. 16, 2021, for Caitlin Potts who was last seen in Enderby on Feb. 22, five years ago.
A missing person’s report was filed March 1, 2016. A year later, surveillance footage was released showing Potts entering Hudson’s Bay at the Orchard Park Shopping Centre in Kelowna. The clip was from Feb. 21, 2016.
In June 2021, Victoria Love organized a search to take place between Aug. 9-20, calling out for help from local foresters, hunters, hikers and anyone with outdoor experience.
“This search will be for her remains,” Love wrote in the June 13 post to the Okanagan Forest Task Force Facebook group. “We need some volunteers and extra manpower outside of the search and rescue team.”
But in the wake of the province calling a state of emergency due to wildfires and with more than 250 fires actively burning, Love decided to postpone the search.
“It is too unsafe as there is an out-of-control wildfire less than 10 minutes from our search area,” she wrote July 26. “I will be replanning it for the spring so there is less fire and less foliage.”
In the meantime, Love said she plans to meet with Enderby RCMP and will hang posters between Aug. 13-17 and she welcomes volunteers interested in lending a hand.
As for the vigil, Love said it’s open to everyone.
“Anyone is welcome and we encourage you to bring friends and come out and show support for Caitlin and Priscilla (Caitlin’s mom),” Love wrote. “We also need to show the police that we won’t be giving up on Caitlin until she gets the justice she deserves.”
Potts was one of four women that went missing from the Shuswap and North Okanagan around that time. This year marked the fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Potts, Ashley Simpson, Deanna Wertz and the fourth for Nicole Bell.
Eighteen-year-old Traci Genereaux, of Vernon, was once included in the group, but the remains of her body were found on a farm near Silver Creek owned by the Sagmoen family in October 2017. No charges have been laid.