A 13-year-old boy inadvertently solved the missing persons case of a woman who disappeared 27 years ago.
The teenager, Max Werenka, was on a boat on Griffin Lake, near Revelstoke, British Columbia, last month when he spotted a wehicle overturned at the bottom of the lake.
Max told his mum, and at first they assumed it was related to an accident which occurred in 2009 when a car crashed into the lake. However, when they mentioned it to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the officer said they had removed that vehicle.
As a result, the Revelstoke RCMP went to the lake and took a boat out to see the submerged vehicle Max had discovered. However, due to the angle of the sun at the time, it was difficult for them to see it, CNN reports.
Wanting to make sure they saw the car, Max decided to get his GoPro camera, strap it to his head and dive down into the lake to get a video of the vehicle up close.
Three days later, police and a local tow company dragged up the car, an old Honda Accord, and were shocked to find a woman’s body still inside.
The body was revealed to be that of Janet Farris, from Mill Bay, B.C., who went missing in 1992 – 14 years before Max was even born – as she drove to a wedding in Alberta. Her family notified the police at the time, and it was believed she had been in a fatal car accident but no trace of Janet or her car was ever found.
Janet’s son, 62-year-old George Farris told CBC:
I think the worst thing was not knowing. We kind of assumed that maybe she had gone off the road or fallen asleep, or tried to avoid an accident or animal on the road.
George said Max’s discovery has brought an end to nearly three decades of mystery.
He said: ‘Given a sad situation, it’s the best of all outcomes.’
The RCMP believe the vehicle drove off the Trans-Canada Highway, which runs along Griffin Lake, and into the water.
Max’s mum, Nancy Warenka, said:
I just feel for them that 27 years of your loved one missing – how do you deal with that?
She added she was very proud of her son though, calling him ‘very mature’ for a 13-year-old.
The RCMP also praised Max’s efforts, with Revelstoke RCMP Cpl. Thomas Blakney calling it ‘good detective work’ on Max’s part.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.