NEWS
10/25/2017 16:35 EDT | Updated 10/28/2017 17:23 EDT

Police bring in specialists to help search B.C. property where remains found

SALMON ARM , B.C. — The Mounties are bringing in specialists to help search a rural property in Salmon Arm, B.C., where they say human remains have been found.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said Wednesday a forensics team that specializes in recovering evidence is among the personnel searching the 10-hectare property.

He said police are also working with the owners of the property on Salmon River Road to move livestock from the site to be cared for elsewhere while the investigation is underway.

Asked if the remains that were found belong to one or more people, Moskaluk said the Mounties can't release more details until proper identification is made.

Five women have gone missing in the same area of the north Okanagan in the past 20 months.

The Mounties have not linked the property search with any ongoing investigation or with a public warning they issued earlier this month about a man they arrested after an alleged incident on Aug. 28 involving threats made to a woman in the area of Salmon River Road.

On Oct. 13, the RCMP warned in a news release of a "possible risk to the general public and women sex workers.''

They said the "woman had attended a pre-arranged meeting'' with the man.

"The meeting had been set up via an online website utilized by escorts and sex workers,'' police said in the statement.

"The victim reported to police that upon arriving at the agreed upon location in her own vehicle, the male suspect produced a firearm and threatened her. The victim was able to flee the scene unharmed.''

The man was released by police and no charges were laid.

Earlier this week, police said 36-year-old Curtis Sagmoen was charged Oct. 17 with disguising his face with intent to commit an offence, uttering threats and weapons offences. Police said he remained in custody and was scheduled to return to court Thursday.

It is not known if Sagmoen has legal representation and The Canadian Press has not been able to find a lawyer who is representing him. None of the charges against him have been tested in court.

Moskaluk said information about how and why police began searching the site can't be released.

He asked the community to be patient as there is no timeline for the investigation to be completed.

"Given the seriousness that we found human remains on site, we have to conduct a very thorough and efficient investigation," he told a news conference near the property that was being searched.

"We do want to make it clear with the communities that we can understand the angst that this kind of situation is causing them and that we appreciate their patience to work with us as we come to furthering this investigation."

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnsworth said Wednesday he has been briefed about the police investigation.

"I can't comment on the nature of the case at this particular point in time. What I can tell you is that my senior ministry officials are in contact with the RCMP and they're saying they have all the resources they need," he said outside the legislature in Victoria.