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

Just Posted

Jumbo Valley to be protected, ending decades-long dispute over proposed ski resort

Development rights permanently retired for site of proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere

FedEx distribution centre coming to Castlegar

Development permit for ground facility before council next week.

Kootenay teams heading for curling provincials

Team Buchy and Team Nichols won the senior playdowns.

Trust delivers social grants, several in Trail and Rossland

Columbia Basin Trust supports 31 projects with $680,000 in social grants

Hospital in Trail goes from zero to 100!

Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital is one of 4 service hospitals operating in Interior Health

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Most Read