Police are expanding their efforts in the search for Nicole Bell.
Bell, 31, was last seen on Sept. 2 in Sicamous and was reported missing to police on Sept. 7.
Bell’s cell phone was later found in Salmon Arm.
Between 5 and 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 30, RCMP officers from Surrey were going door-to-door in the 10th Street SW area of Salmon Arm, canvassing residents about whether they remember anything of note regarding Sunday, Sept. 3 on the Labour Day weekend.
Jennifer Bertram, who lives near the intersection of 10th Street and 20th Avenue SW, was questioned by an officer.
“She was looking for items of clothing and, more specifically, a silver Ford 150 pickup.”
Bertram, as well as other residents, was shown photos of Bell to see if anyone remembered seeing her.
Art Lepp, a 10th Street SW resident, was also asked about what he remembers from Sept. 3.
He says the officer visited a number of homes on his street.
“He had started from the mall (Piccadilly) and was working his way up the hill.”
Other residents in the area who didn’t wish to be named confirmed that Sept. 3 and a silver Ford 150 extended cab truck were of interest to the police doing the canvassing. One said an officer explained they had come up from the Coast because investigators here were swamped and needed extra help.
Bell, a Malakwa resident and the mother of three children, is described as Caucasian, 4 ft. 11 ins. (150 cms) tall, and has blonde hair past her shoulders. She has a piercing in her nose and above her upper lip and occasionally wears glasses.
Police and her family have been concerned for her well-being as it is out of character for her to have no contact with her family for this length of time.
“It’s not like Nicole to do this. She is what you would say is a soccer-mom type,” said Tricia Dendekker, Nicole’s sister, in an earlier interview with the Observer.
“We just hope to see her again… We pray every day she walks through the door. We pray for the other families to have their loved ones return breathing. As well, we pray that these women and my sister are not scared or harmed.”
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Nicole Bell is asked to contact the Sicamous RCMP at 250-836-2878, or Crime Stoppers if they wish to remain anonymous, at 1-800-222-8477, quoting file number 2017-1401.
Bell is one of five women missing from the North Okanagan-Shuswap area.
Also missing are Caitlin Potts, Ashley Simpson, Deanna Wertz and Traci Generaux. Police have not stated whether any of these missing women’s cases were the impetus for the current search of the 24-acre Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek, although some of the families, including those of Ashley Simpson and Deanna Wertz, have been told those cases were not what initiated the current police efforts in Silver Creek.
Jane Shirley, executive director of the Shuswap Area Family Emergency (SAFE) Society, notes that this is a difficult time for the community.
“Our goal is to offer support to those who are impacted by fear, trauma and violence. This time is particularly painful for those families who are currently looking for their loved ones who have disappeared from our region,” she says. “It takes great strength for a victim of a crime to come forward and this needs to be recognized. There is help out there for those impacted by violence. We continue to expand community awareness and support.”
She urges residents to share information about abuse and available resources.
“You could make a difference in a life that has been impacted by fear and abuse. No one is immune to the impact of violence.
“You don’t have to be hit to be abused – emotional, spiritual, financial and sexual abuse leaves invisible scars. Bullying, harassment and online harassment/stalking can affect anyone. You are not alone.”
The SAFE Society offers 24-hour confidential support services for those exposed to violence. Call 250-832-9616.
Other resources include: Community Based Victim Services – 250-832-0005; Police Based Victim Services –250-832-4453; Children Who Witness Abuse Program – 250-832-4474; Stopping the Violence Program – 250-832-9700 and Outreach Services – 250-832-4474.
There is also a tip line should there be someone you know who has any information, big or small, that can help with the current investigations. The Southeast District Major Crime Unit, general tip line for all investigations, is: 1-877-987-8477.