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

Our View: Province needs to crack down on COVID-spreading events

Illicit parties and rule-breaking gatherings need to be stopped

Langley City corrections officer rides for cancer cure

Even in the midst of the pandemic, the Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley will go on

Many questions for Langley teachers as return to school approaches

Immune-compromised teachers are among those waiting to hear about plans

LETTER: Trudeau wasting tax dollars on vacation home upgrades, Langley man says

Renovations costly to prime minister’s official government vacation property

Summerset keeping ‘live music alive’ with weekly outdoor concerts at Fort Langley eatery

Sundays in August will see a ticketed audience of no more than 50 seated with social distance

STANDING TALL: Forestry workers meet the challenges, remain hopeful

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Missed rent payments ‘cause of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due.

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

WE Charity registers as lobbyist, lays off staff, looking to sell real estate

WE Charity said its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Most Read