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Teen Accidentally Solves Cold-Case Disappearance With GoPro

By Miguel Moreno

A 13-year-old Canadian boy accidentally solved a nearly 30-year missing person’s case after diving into a lake.

Max Werenka of Alberta first discovered a car submerged near the shoreline of Griffin Lake on Aug. 21, according to CTV News. He dove into the water from his boat and took video of the overturned vehicle with a GoPro, then gave it to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Days later, the RCMP hauled out the vehicle of 69-year-old Janet Farris, whose body was found inside, the RCMP confirmed on Sept. 6.

“I always like to question things,” Werenka told CTV. “If there was something that could have helped anyone … why not try?”

Sgt. Thomas Blakney of the RCMP told CBC that they checked the license plate of the black Honda Accord and found it belonged to Farris who disappeared in 1992. Her identification was also found in the car.

Blakney added that no foul play is suspected.

The vehicle was not damaged, leading police to believe Farris swerved to avoid hitting an animal or something similar, reported CBC.

Police commended Werenka for his “good detective work.”

“The RCMP will probably look at this guy down the road for potential employment,” Blakney told CTV. “Good detective work on his part.”

Son of Missing Mother

Farris’s son, George, was interviewed by Canadian media after the discovery.

“I think the worst thing was not knowing,” the 62-year-old told CBC. “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’s mother was on her way to a wedding when she vanished, reported CBC. He added that the situation was sad one, but it was the “best of all outcomes.”

“I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like for that many years not understanding what ever happened to a loved one,” Werenka told CTV.

George said “good memories kept him through,” and that this discovery is the “end of the story.”

Blakney said he sent thoughts and prayers to the Ferris family, adding that he is glad the family has “some form of closure,” reported CTV.

“How many people have passed and come across this before? We don’t know,” he said, referring to the submerged vehicle. “We’ve never had any reports of such, but it’s possible someone saw it in the past.”