No human remains found during annual South Sask. River search
RCMP scoured the
South Saskatchewan River by boat in late June, looking for human remains in
hopes of bringing closure to the families of five men who disappeared over the
span of 26 years.
The Saskatoon Historical Case Unit's (HCU) annual search -- usually done by plane -- targets historical cases in which bodies were never recovered. Investigators focused on five cases they believe were or may be connected to that body of water.
Two of them date back to the late 80s.
Peter James McKay fell through the ice in 1986 and was never seen again. A year later it's believed Marc April, who was a patient at City Hospital, also died in the river.
Since both cases happened nearly 30 years ago, Cst. Simon Pillay with HCU said they'd likely be looking for bones.
"But there have been cases in Saskatchewan where bodies are preserved at a cold temperature, and actually are still in the form of a body 10 or even 20 years later."
The most recent case involves 23-year-old Hamza Alsharief, the University of Saskatchewan student from Saudi Arabia who disappeared in December.
The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) asked RCMP to include him in the annual search after what's believed to be his jacket was discovered on the CP Train Bridge later that month.
"We believe, based on the results of the investigation, that he went into the river," said Pillay.
The case is being investigated by the SPS, and spokesperson Alyson Edwards said police do not know whether Alsharief died in the river, adding "the river has been searched in the past as one of the avenues of investigation."
Pillay said the last two men on the RCMP search list drowned, but their bodies were never found.
Preston Wayne Waldner, 18, was pulled under by a strong current after trying to swim across the river at Paradise Beach in July 2006.
Two years later, 52-year-old Gordon Keith Harvey disappeared after a swim near Cranberry Flats just south of Saskatoon.
Other than a piece of clothing that Pillay said is being investigated, the search from Saskatoon up to where the South and North Saskatchewan Rivers meet came up empty handed.
He added RCMP will continue to search the river if following up on a tip.
Follow on Twitter: @BreezyBreMc