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Sherwood Park teen with GoPro helps solve B.C. missing person’s case

WATCH ABOVE: A nearly 30-year-old missing person’s case in B.C. has been solved in an unusual way. Sarah Komadina explains how a teen and his GoPro camera helped bring answers to the mystery.

Max Werenka has been to Griffin Lake, near Revelstoke B.C. hundreds of times. He loves nature and often captures experiences with his GoPro.

But the 13-year-old never expected this would lead him to help solved a missing person’s case.

First, something shiny was noticed under water by another family, so Max went out with his family and saw that it was a vehicle.

They notified RCMP, but when they arrived, the water was too murky to see the bottom of the lake, so Max offered to help.

READ MORE: ‘It was awful’: A mother’s remains missing in mail for a month

“I recommended [to the RCMP] I had a GoPro, so we could use it to film underneath the water so we could get a better look at it,” Max Werenka said.

“So I went and swam around, and dove down and took a video of everything to show them.”

“It was meant to happen.”

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“Where this was located was about 10 feet offshore and only in about 20 feet of water, so it was really close to shore,” said Max’s mom, Nancy Werenka.

“This was a whole string of coincidental events.”

RCMP pulled the vehicle out from the bottom of the lake on Aug. 21. They learned it belong to Janet Farris, missing since 1992. The family thinks she may have swerved to miss hitting an animal or fell asleep.

Janet Farris disappeared in 1992. A teen with a GoPro found her car submerged in Griffin Lake, BC 27 years later.
Janet Farris disappeared in 1992. A teen with a GoPro found her car submerged in Griffin Lake, BC 27 years later. George Farris

READ MORE: Body of woman recovered from submerged car: Revelstoke RCMP

It’s a whirlwind of emotions for her granddaughter, Erin Farris-Hartley, who was just 12 when her grandmother disappeared.

“It seemed like there was never an appropriate way to grieve because she was missing,” Farris-Hartley said.

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“We are so grateful that this boy went with his GoPro and found [her].”

Farris-Hartley said Janet was on her way to a wedding in Alberta. They didn’t know something happened until two weeks later, when the people getting married called her family and asked why Janet wasn’t there.

“I remember thinking about what her last moments would have been like if her car [did] go off the road,” she said.

WATCH (June 3, 2019): Families of some children who have been missing for decades have renewed hope

Families of some children who have been missing for decades have renewed hope
Families of some children who have been missing for decades have renewed hope

Farris-Hartley said she remembers her grandma as a warm, funny person who loved to garden, and says she thinks about her every day.

Janet’s middle name was Margaret and so is one her great grand-daughters.

“I miss her,” she said. “She’s a huge part of my life even though most of my life is spent without her.

“This is a happy story in the end, knowing her final resting place and [knowing] that it was an accident.”

The family will be laying Janet Farris to rest in 2020.

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