George Farris is looking forward to finally bringing his mother back home to Mill Bay.
The body of his mother Janet was recently found in her car at the bottom of a lake near Revelstoke after she first went missing without a trace 27 years ago while travelling alone to a family wedding on the Mainland.
Farris said his mother’s remains have been sent to a funeral home in Revelstoke where they will be cremated, and the family intends to inter them next to her husband’s remains in a church plot in Mill Bay when they are returned.
“It certainly means that we’re finally nearing the end of this story,” he said.
“We thought that maybe someday, we would finally find out what happened to my mother, but so much time had gone past that we were beginning to doubt that we ever would.”
After almost three decades of heartache and questions about Janet’s disappearance among the Farris family, she was finally found largely thanks to a 13-year-old boy and his GoPro.
Solving the case began when guests of the Griffin Lake Cabins near Revelstoke spotted a car at the bottom of the lake in late August.
It was originally thought to be 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, 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.
So her 13-year-old son, Max, dove below the surface and took a video of the car with his GoPro in hand.
From there the RCMP called in their Underwater Recovery Team who made it out to the lake on Aug. 24.
The vehicle’s licence plate was still intact and investigators were able to confirm that it belonged Janet Farris, who had been missing since 1992.
Most importantly, her body was still inside the Honda Accord.
The vehicle was carefully towed out of the lake and is now being inspected to determine the cause of the accident.
Cpl. Thomas Blakney, a spokesman for the Revelstoke RCMP, said that there was no damage to the front end of the vehicle, possibly because the cement barriers that are now in place at that location were not there at the time.
George Farris said the family had assumed that the most likely scenario was that Janet had a car accident along the route to the wedding, and that she either had a medical emergency, fell asleep at the wheel, or tried to avoid hitting an animal or some other obstruction on the road.
“We walked great lengths of the highway at the time, along with Search and Rescue volunteers, looking for her, and a RCMP helicopter was in the sky looking as well,” he said.
“But there was a lot of territory to cover and we had no idea where we should be looking. Those lakes along the way can also be very deep, as was the lake they finally found her in.”
Farris said the Coroners Service is preparing a report on his mother’s death, and he has been told that it will take some time to complete.
“My brother (and only other sibling) lives in Thailand and he’s also very happy that mom has been found,” he said.
“Our thanks to everyone who made that possible.”
– With file from Black Press –