Yellowknife RCMP suspended the search for three missing travellers after finding a body in a “large open area of water,” police stated in a news release Saturday evening.
The case is now being treated as an open missing persons file. While the body hasn’t been identified, police notified the family members of the missing travellers.
“Our hearts are with the families of the missing persons. We are sorry to bring this tragic news to them and we will continue to support them,” stated Staff Sergeant Yannick Hamel in the release.
According to the release, the missing persons – Samuel Boucher, 65, Cammy Boucher, 23 and an unknown male – likely left Dettah in a black two seater snowmobile with two toboggans in tow. Their destination was believed to be Lutsel K’e.
The body was discovered in the ensuing search. Over the course of three days, teams in helicopters and planes combed the water in a triangular area of Yellowknife, Fort Resolution and Lutsel K’e and, then reported spotting “debris” on Thursday.
In consideration of the deteriorating ice, multiple days of searching with no sightings, and the body discovery, “all viable … options ha(d) been exhausted” and the search was called off, according to the release.
“We understand the desire to bring these travellers home, but due to the deteriorating ice conditions, we stress that no one should venture out on the ice,” said Sgt Hamel in the release.
Following the body sighting, the release stated a strategy will be developed to remove the body from the water and will be evaluated for risk as weather conditions continue to develop.
Additionally, Yellowknife RCMP General Investigative Section will continue to investigate the missing person’s file for all three individuals, including the third unknown male.
The RCMP encourage further information to come forward from anyone with knowledge of the situation, according to the release. The search suspension may be lifted if more information is revealed.
“We can’t thank our partners enough,” Sgt Hamel stated. “The countless hours, efforts and expertise of (Civil Air Search and Rescue Association) were invaluable in our search. Our partner agency (Joint Rescue Coordination Centre) is also a valuable partner bringing assets to our searches.”
On Friday evening, the Yellowknife RCMP held a news conference at G Division headquarters noting that debris had been located at an unspecified location in the search area and that weather conditions made it difficult for police to operate.