Megan Louis speaks about the issue of missing and murdered women at the Vernon Courthouse Thursday. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)

Protesters gather during Shuswap man’s court appearance

Group in Vernon remembers missing and murdered women after police find human remains on property

Megan Louis is speaking for her cousin and others, though Lord knows she wishes she didn’t have to.

Louis, a member of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation near Burns Lake, who lives in Vernon, led about a dozen First Nations women and men protesters in singing songs and banging drums on the Vernon Courthouse steps Thursday morning to remember missing and murdered indigenous women. The list includes her cousin, Danita Bigeagle of Regina, who hasn’t been seen in 10 years.

Bigeagle’s mother, Diane, has been an outspoken advocate for missing and murdered indigenous women.

“Anything to do with missing and murdered indigenous and non-indigenous women is very close to me,” said Louis. “Any violent acts against women…that’s unacceptable.”

The group gathered on the same day a man was appearing in Provincial Court in Vernon, via video, facing seven charges in connection with an incident Aug. 27 at a property on Salmon River Road near Falkland, where a woman reported being threatened by a man with a firearm.

A woman had attended a pre-arranged meeting with a man in the area of Salmon River Road. The meeting had been set up via an online website utilized by escorts and sex workers.

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen, born in 1980, has been charged with disguising his face with intent to commit an offence; intentionally discharging a firearm while reckless; uttering threats; careless use or storage of a firearm; pointing a firearm; possessing weapon for dangerous purpose; and possession of a controlled narcotic.

Sagmoen was remanded in custody pending his next court appearance on Nov. 23. No additional charges were added. His court matter lasted less than five minutes.

A publication ban prohibiting releasing the name of the victim was put in place.

The court appearance came as RCMP remain at a Salmon River Road property owned by Sagmoen’s father where human remains have been discovered.

Police have not indicated how long they plan to be at the property searching.

Court records have been sealed for the property search.

Outside court, Louis read statements from Splatsin First Nation Chief Wayne Christian, and Judy Wilson, a Neskonlith band member in the Shuswap and a member of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs executive.

“Violence against women is unacceptable,” said Christian, adding he was opposed to any bail release for Sagmoen.

Said Wilson: “We have gathered together several times over the week to support the women and girls who have been reported missing in our area and to let their families know we will support them through these difficult times. The RCMP have a role and our message is justice is needed for all women and girls, and that we call upon them to ensure communications with the families involved and support to go through the processes.

“Assault and violence against our women and girls must be taken serious at all levels and be treated that way in any sentencing. Too many times it’s a slap on the wrist with no justice. This needs to change.”

Asked about the RCMP search at the Salmon River Road property, Louis said it was “sickening that it’s happening so close to home.”

“I hope whoever’s remains were found at the farm gets closure,” she said.

Just Posted

Snowfall warning remains in effect

Public urged to postpone non-essential travel

Terrace to Hazelton bus service launched

First trip of BC Transit’s latest inter-community route set for Nov. 20

Snowfall warning issued for Terrace

Environment Canada expects up to 30cm by this evening

UPDATE: One injured in collision near Onion Lake

The semi truck and van collided between Terrace and Kitimat at 1:45 p.m. Nov. 15.

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Most Read