Another year has passed with no charges laid in relation to the death of Traci Genereaux.
The 18-year-old from Vernon went missing in May 2017, and on Oct. 21 of that year, her remains were found on a farm on Salmon River Road, a property owned by Curtis Wayne Sagmoen’s father, under suspicious circumstances.
Oct. 4 would have been her 23rd birthday — a date that brings the family pain, sadness and anger for what was lost.
“You get a little bit angry, a little bit upset, sad, just with not knowing what’s going on and wondering why do we have to wait so long,” said Darcy Martin, Genereaux’s grandmother.
But instead of wallowing in grief during the long wait for the police to file charges, Martin is doing what her granddaughter would have wanted her to do.
“She’d want us to carry on with our life.”
Last year Martin launched Traci’s Gift, a Christmas fundraiser that sponsored less fortunate families in her name and honour. Having raised nearly $4,000 to shower locals with food and presents over the holidays, she decided to bring the initiative back for a second year.
“There are still so many more people out there that need the help and especially around Christmas time,” Martin said.
“If Traci was still here today this is something that she would have loved to be doing. She was always wanting to help people. She had a very, very huge heart.”
For Martin and the family, the 21st of October is one of the hardest days of the year. With the date of Genereaux’s death still unknown, the anniversary of the discovery of her remains brings back the sharpest memories of her life, which was full of exploring the outdoors, being her loud outspoken self and giving to others.
“It gives us peace of mind knowing that we’re doing something positive in her memory.”
Martin is again partnering with the All Are Family Outreach Society to identify families in need of support during Genereaux’s favourite holiday season and to screen the families to create a wish list for each family that will be sponsored.
This year Martin will be able to devote all of the funds to gift-giving, as Vernon FreshCo has agreed to cover the cost of turkey or ham Christmas dinners “down to the whipping cream on the dessert,” as well as breakfast the next morning to all the sponsored families.
“I about cried when they told me that, I was so happy,” Martin said.
Martin has started the fundraising pool with $100 and says every little bit helps. Folks can donate by e-transfer at email@example.com, or by calling Martin 250-260-6570 to arrange an in-person exchange.
Genereaux was one of five women to go missing in the region between the spring of 2016 and the fall of 2017.
Caitlin Potts, 27, was last seen in February 2016 in Kelowna and Enderby; Ashley Simpson, 31, was last seen in April 2016 on Yankee Flats Road near Silver Creek. Deanna Wertz, 46, was also reported missing from the Yankee Flats Road area in July 2016; Nicole Bell, then 32, went missing in September 2017 from the Sicamous area.
Anyone with information on any of the missing women, or in relation to Traci Genereaux’s death, are asked to contact their local RCMP.