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The body of Pte. Michal Beaman was pulled from the water at the mouth of the Cataraqui River Wednesday afternoon, metres south of the LaSalle Causeway on the grounds of the Royal Military College.
A large group of military members, OPP officers and Kingston police gathered around a blue tarp at the side of the water on Wednesday afternoon.
A stretcher was brought in and several officers lifted what looked to be body onto it, which was then loaded into a Kingston police forensic identification vehicle that left the scene around 3:40 p.m.
OPP’s underwater search and recovery unit has been combing the waters near the causeway for the last two days, looking for Beaman, a 22-year-old reservist with the 37 Signal Regiment, who went missing in Kingston on Friday night.
“It saddens us deeply to report that the body of Pte. Michal Beaman was recovered. He was found in the water near the LaSalle Causeway in Kingston, by the Ontario Provincial Police’s underwater search and recovery unit,” read an emailed statement from Cpt. Derek Reid, public affairs officer with Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre.
Beaman, who is from New Brunswick but was taking a course in Kingston since early January, has not been seen since Friday evening, when he and several of his classmates went to a downtown Kingston nightclub called The Spot.
After not returning to barracks on the base Saturday morning, he was reported missing by those classmates to their chain of command, and a thorough search of CFB Kingston began Sunday evening.
By Monday, hundreds of military personnel were searching both the grounds of the base and downtown Kingston, looking for the reservist.
On Tuesday, the OPP’s underwater search and recovery unit began a water search, looking primarily around the LaSalle Causeway bridge, where Beaman’s aunt, Tracy Brewer, told Global News he was seen on security cameras later Friday night or early Saturday morning.
Military police announced on Wednesday that the ground search was ending, and all search efforts were being focused on the water. By Wednesday afternoon, what seems to be a body was pulled out of the water bordering the grounds of the Royal Military College.
Reid said Beaman’s next of kin have been notified. Beaman’s parents travelled from New Brunswick to Kingston by car overnight Sunday just hours after learning he was missing. They arrived on Sunday and have been staying on the base and trying to do what they can to support the search efforts in the city.
Natalie Beaman described her son as a dedicated reservist, and said he was extremely excited to be here in Kingston doing a linesmen course.
“He was very, very honoured to come and take the course,” Natalie told Global News in an interview on Tuesday.
Beaman was training to be an Army communications and information systems specialist. He enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces on Dec. 13, 2018.
She also said Michal and the other members of his class “gelled” right away and became fast friends.
“A real, real, real tight group of guys that are as thick as brothers. And they’re all out there looking for him,” Natalie said on Tuesday before her son’s body was found.
Natalie welled up with tears often, and repeatedly thanks military personnel for their extensive search efforts.
“There’s tons of resources, tons of students, tons of other soldiers that said ‘it’s a military family and we’re there for each other’ and they’re out looking for Michal.”
His disappearance was a great surprise to both his parents, who said it was unlike him not to be present in barracks even 12 hours before he was expected in class the next morning.
“He knew he had to be there for 6:30 in the morning for timing. He would have been there (the barracks) shortly after 5 o’clock at night, the night before and made sure that he had all his equipment already,” Natalie said.
The cause of his death and other details about the moments before his death have not been released.
“We will not speculate on any aspects of this situation, and will respect the investigation that is still underway,” Reid’s statement continued.
On Thursday, Lt. Col. Alan Doody, from the 37 Signal Regiment, for which Michal was a part, released a statement following his death.
“It was with great sadness that I, and all of the soldiers of 37 Signal Regiment, learned of the passing of Signaller Beaman,” Doody said.
“He was held in high regard by all and always performed to a high standard during training and military exercises. He will be sorely missed by all those who knew him.”
Doody noted that for those struggling with Beaman’s death, the military’s chain of command was offering support.
“I would also remind our soldiers of the services offered by the unit and garrison chaplains, Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program, Canadian Forces Health Services or 911 for those in crisis,” Doody wrote.
Doody said that Beaman’s death is “tragedy which will reverberate with all those whose lives he touched.”