A car and a body were recovered from Griffin Lake, west of Revelstoke on Highway 1, on Aug. 24. The family has since confirmed that the body was that of Janet Farris, who went missing in 1992 on her way from Vancouver Island to Alberta. (RCMP photo)

Boy, 13, uses GoPro to help Revelstoke RCMP solve 27-year-old cold case

A body of a woman missing since 1992 was recovered from Griffin Lake

RCMP in Revelstoke are finally able to close a 27-year-old case file involving a missing woman from Vancouver Island, all thanks to a 13-year-old boy and his GoPro.

Solving the case began when guests of the Griffin Lake Cabins spotted a car at the bottom of the lake in August. Everyone thought it was from an accident in 2009 where four people were pulled out of the water, west of Revelstoke on Highway 1.

However, an off-duty RCMP officer who was at the cabins visiting family had told the owners that the vehicle involved in the accident had been recovered from the lake shortly after it crashed. The new find prompted police to take a closer look.

When two officers visited the property, Nancy Werenka, whose family owns Griffin Lake Cabins, took them out on the water. Unfortunately, they couldn’t see the vehicle.

“The conditions have to be perfect,” Werenka told the Revelstoke Review.

Max Werenak, whose family owns the Griffin Lake Cabins, dove down and took this photo of the submerged vehicle when it was no longer visible from the surface. (Submitted)

So her 13-year-old son, Max, dove below the surface and took a video of the car with his GoPro in hand.

READ MORE: Jackson, Lockerby to get Governor General bravery award for Griffin Lake rescue

From there the RCMP called in their Underwater Recovery Team who made it out to the lake on Aug. 24. The vehicle’s license plate was still intact and investigators were able to confirm that it belonged to a woman who had been missing since 1992.

Most importantly: the woman’s body was still inside, said Cpl. Thomas Blakney of the Revelstoke RCMP.

The family later shared that it was Janet Farris who was found. She had gone missing on her way from Vancouver Island to Alberta for a wedding back in 1992.

The vehicle has been carefully towed out of the lake and is now being inspected to determine the cause of the accident.

Max Werenka, 13, dove beneath the surface of Griffin Lake to retrieve video footage of a vehicle that had been there since 1992. (Submitted)

Blakney said that there was no damage to the front end of the vehicle, possibly because the cerement barriers that are now in place at that location were not there at the time.

But other than that they can only speculate for now, whether she was swerving to miss an animal or had a medical emergency. “We don’t know that,” Blakney said. He hopes that his provides closure for the family.

He also speculated about how many people had come across the vehicle and not reported it to the RCMP, saying this is a perfect example of why people should contact police with tips.

READ MORE: ‘I worry people will forget’: GoFundMe campaign to offer reward on disappearance of Revelstoke teen

“We follow up those complaints, we follow up those tips,” he said.

The Revelstoke RCMP currently have 26 missing person cases and, just like this one, they hope to bring closure to more families, Blakney said.

“There is the right time of day, the right lighting, the right person, the right place, the right time – there’s a lot of factors that fall into place.”


 

@JDoll_Revy
jocelyn.doll@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Investigation clears RCMP in incident where man fell from Langley overpass

‘Officers acted commendably and placed themselves at risk’ police watchdog report finds

VIDEO: Plane that reportedly crashed into Fraser River was from Delta flight school, Transportation Safety Board confirms

Cessna was flying over the river near Maple Ridge and Langley when it disappeared from radar

Township council mulls climate action costs

Public consultation begins later this year on a 20-year plan to cut carbon emissions

‘It’s not just about our thrift shop’: Alder Inn plans asked to include community parking

Fibromyalgia Wellspring founder Cheryl Young is asking the Township to use downtown lots for parking

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Rural Chilliwack residents asked to stay indoors, lock doors amid heavy police presence

Heavy police presence in rural Chilliwack neighbourhood as RCMP contend with ‘serious situation’

Councillor Doug Elford Surrey’s acting mayor during McCallum’s “health concern” absence

Mayor issued a statement Tuesday night saying he’ll be back on the job by Monday

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Most Read