Human remains found in a pond next to Highway 5 on July 6 have been identified as Brian Boucher, who went missing from Fort Smith last October.
A statement from the police said that although the cause of death has yet to be determined, foul play is not suspected. The remains were found in a truck submerged in a gravel pit full of water on the side of the highway.
“A great deal of concern was expressed by the public when Mr. Boucher was reported missing. Efforts were made to locate Brian, not only by police, but by members of the public. It is unfortunate that he has been found deceased. Our condolences are with Mr. Boucher’s family, and the community,” stated RCMP Sgt. Eric Lane of the Northwest Territories Major Crimes Unit.
Several air and ground searches over the past eight months failed to turn up any evidence of Boucher, who went missing Oct. 25 and was last seen in Hay River. It was believed he was travelling on that date from Hay River to Fort Smith in his 1998 Ford F-150. The 52 year old had been in Hay River while attending a college course.
The route between Hay River and Fort Smith is about 265 km. An air search was conducted by an RCMP aircraft from Yellowknife in May, but that failed to find Boucher or his vehicle.
“A ground search gives you limited visibility,” said RCMP Sgt. Tyler Codling at the time. “From the air, they can see directly down to see if there were any vehicles or anything like that could have been covered by snow for the winter.”
The pond was deep enough to cover the vehicle completely.
A Gofundme campaign was started by Boucher’s wife, Iris Lalonde Boucher. As of Sunday, it had raised $245 of $3,000 to put toward funeral expenses and travel for family members for the service expected to be held in Edmonton.
“Brian was a kind, giving, hard-working man,” Iris wrote for the campaign. “His family always came first and he would give the shirt off of his back to help anybody.”
According to Cathy Menard, the chief coroner of the NWT, the remains were sent to Edmonton to be examined and identified.
— Sarah Ladik with files from Paul Bickford