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

Peninsula organizations fund food bank ahead of ‘looming crisis’

Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank receives more than $5,000 from local organizations

Saanich teen earns $100,000 commerce scholarship to the University of Calgary

Matias Totz is graduating from St. Michaels University School

Traffic impacted on the Malahat near Goldstream Park

Reported crash in northbound lane of highway

Barbecue thief leaves hat behind at Victoria residence

Anyone who recognizes the hat is asked to call VicPD or Crime Stoppers

COVID-19: Saanich police respond to calls about skatepark gathering, group volleyball game

‘Some people are still not taking this seriously,’ officer says

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Most Read