Boy, 13, solves decades-old disappearance of Vancouver Island woman
Published Friday, September 6, 2019 3:22PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, September 6, 2019 6:27PM PDT
A 13-year-old Alberta boy has accidentally solved the cold-case disappearance of a Vancouver Island woman who vanished without a trace almost three decades ago.
The RCMP say Max Werenka, 13, was on a boat on Griffin Lake, near Revelstoke, on Aug. 21 when he spotted what appeared to be a submerged car near the shoreline.
Two Mounties were called to the scene and taken to the site on the Werenka family's boat.
Max jumped into the water with his GoPro camera and was able get a photo of the overturned vehicle.
"The boy was able to jump into the water, go down and take a photo, and then produce the photo to the members," Revelstoke RCMP Cpl. Thomas Blakney told CTV News.
"Not too many abandoned vehicles turn upside down," he added.
The vehicle wasn't abandoned. Rather, it belonged to Janet Farris, a 69-year-old Mill Bay woman who disappeared in 1992, Island District RCMP confirmed Friday.
The Mounties confirmed the body of a woman in her 60s was found inside the car. They also told CTV News that investigators have visited George Farris, Janet's son, at his Mill Bay address to relay the discovery.
George Farris told CTV News on Friday that the discovery of his mother's car and body was a shock but it has since brought closure to the family.
"After the first year, you just carry on," he said. "You come to live with it."
Blakney said the position of the vehicle suggested it was driven off the Trans-Canada Highway, just three metres away, and overturned before coming to a rest on the bottom of the lake, approximately 4.5 metres down.
On Saturday, the RCMP's underwater recovery team was sent to the lake and determined the 1980s Honda Accord had been missing since 1992.
The vehicle and body have since been recovered.
Blakney said there is no reason to suspect foul play in the crash or the woman's death.
"I'm glad for them and my thoughts and prayers also go out for them, but I'm glad that there's... some form of closure for the family," he said.
Police say the whole Revelstoke detachment is "very appreciative" of the 13-year-old Werenka's discovery.
"How many people have passed and come across this before? We don't know. We've never had any reports of such, but it's possible someone saw it in the past," Blakney said.
"That's good detective work on his part."