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No sign of missing north Okanagan woman despite extensive search

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No sign of missing north Okanagan woman despite extensive search – Aug 2, 2016

The sister of Deanna Wertz, a north Okanagan woman that went missing two weeks ago, is now speaking out. She is hoping more public attention will help find the missing 46-year-old.

“She’s loved [and] missed. If anyone has any information [about] where she is, we would really like to know,” said Alanna Wertz, Deanna’s sister.

“[We] just want closure and to find her.”

She was last seen on Tuesday, July 19 by her husband as he left for work. She also told family members on the phone that day she was going out “to the mountain.”

Wertz enjoyed going on walks in the area and her sister believes she may have run into trouble in the backcountry.

“I’m just thinking she has gone off for a hike,” said Alanna Wertz. “Anything can happen in the bush. You [can] get turned around or hurt.”
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Family and search and rescue crews have combed a natural area near her home, on Yankee Flats Road, where she liked to walk.

Shuswap Search and Rescue and RCMP resources have also looked for Wertz on the ground and from the air.

But so far, they’ve turned up no definitive signs of her.

“We put a lot of man power into this, 10 to 20 people in a day, people coming home after midnight,” said John Schut with Shuswap Search and Rescue.

“I think we’ve pretty much exhausted the clues that we have so we’d love it if anyone had any information [about] Deanna’s whereabouts [if they could] call the Vernon RCMP.”

Wertz’s disappearance adds to the growing number of people missing in the area.

Caitlin Potts was last seen at the end of February, and Ashley Simpson hasn’t been heard from since April. Simpson had been living on a property on Yankee Flats Road not far from the forest where searchers have been looking for Wertz.

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Read More: More details emerge in Ashley Simpson missing person case

Staff at a local health centre said the spate of disappearances is causing concern.

“It is definitely on the minds of people in the community,” said Laura Hockman who works at the Splatsin Health Centre.

“One community member commented on Thursday that she has lived here all her life and she has never heard of so many people missing at the same time. It’s scary.”

Police are not connecting Wertz’s disappearance to the other missing persons cases.

Read More: First Nations leaders issue call to action during search for Caitlin Potts

But the RCMP does admit the number of ongoing missing persons investigations is unusual.

“It is just as disconcerting to us as it is to the community,” said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.

“Extensive resources have been secured on all of these three investigations.”

Family and search and rescue crews have combed a natural area near her home, on Yankee Flats Road, where she liked to walk. Megan Turcato / Global News
Deanna Wertz has been missing since Tuesday, July 19. RCMP