Tracy Hughes, Salmon Arm Observer editor

Tracy Hughes, Salmon Arm Observer editor

Column: Watching and waiting in Silver Creek

Observer editor Tracy Hughes reflects on covering the police search at the Sagmoen farm

To say that things are a little bit weird around here would be an understatement.

Since a massive police presence moved into Silver Creek on Oct. 19, to be followed by confirmation that weekend of human remains being found on the Sagmoen farm, it has been flat out around the newsroom.

It started for us with a tip on a Facebook page about police vehicles massing in Silver Creek, so we sent a reporter to check it out. It was a busy deadline day, but it sounded a bit unusual so away we went.

What we found was a police presence on a scale I have not witnessed in the 20 years I have worked in this newsroom. The Wildfire of 1998 had many officers come in, but to see the level of resources and the obvious technical and forensic skills of the RCMP officers brought onto the Sagmoen farm is unprecedented in my experience.

Also since then I have been speaking with some of the families of women missing in our area. To say that has been difficult would also be an understatement.

The weight these families are carrying is so heavy. John Simpson, father of missing woman Ashley Simpson, says the pain is so great some days that it makes it hard to even breathe. With the discovery in Silver Creek, the anguish and anxiety is ramped up again.

It leaves these poor people torn within themselves – part of them wants answers and closure for what may have happened to their loved one, another part is hoping against hope that it is not their family member found dead.

Their stories have hurt my heart. There are so many questions and so few answers, it becomes hard not to speculate. It is hard not to develop an attachment to the people left waiting and wondering about their daughter, sister or friend. With three children of my own, I have been hugging them a little tighter and a little longer than before this began.

I must confess I’m not sleeping very well these days.

People want answers and there are so few. More will emerge eventually, of course, but it requires coping with high emotions in the meantime – fear, anger, confusion, ambiguity. None of these are comfortable emotions.

Added into the mix is the fact we are the local reporters – which means something different than the big guns who have swooped in from Vancouver.

We live here. We know many people personally. We have covered their quilt shows and Halloween events – and we will still be here when big video cameras and the satellite trucks disappear.

So for me, it’s both professional and personal.

And in this time of more questions than answers, I’m trying to hang on to a few things. One is hope. That came out loud and clear in Silver Creek on Saturday, where neighbours came together to eat, play, relax and share with their community. It is a powerful message that hope and community spirit can thrive, even in dark times.

I’m also leaning on faith in those RCMP officers working on this case. While they are not talking publicly, I am confident many of them feel a passionate connection to the families involved and an insatiable wish to see justice served in this case. They do know more than the rest of us, and I do not doubt it is a heavy burden for them.

So for now, we wait and wonder.

I wish I could share something more profound. But that’s all I’ve got.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

A crash at the intersection of Harvey Avenue and Leckie Road on June 15. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
Traffic stalled by Harvey Avenue crash in Kelowna

One lane is open as crews clean up after crash at Harvey Avenue and Leckie Road

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file)
Rise in break-ins prompts Kelowna RCMP warning

Kelowna RCMP share steps on keeping your home safe

Stage one water restrictions will be back in place for some Regional District of Central Okanagan water users. (Black Press Media file)
Outdoor watering restrictions return to RDCO for the season

Customers who use water systems operated by the regional district will be affected

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Glen Lennon now resides in a neat and fully serviced unit in the Silver Crest Retirement Home, managed by Princeton and District Community Social Services. Photo Andrea DeMeer
Princeton RCMP and social workers find new home for elderly accident victim

“I love the sun and the sun shines on my patio here. I can go out and walk around.”

Most Read