RCMP divers look for evidence in the river

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

The rumour mill was on fire early last week after a diving operation on Lesser Slave River was observed by many people passing by. What were they searching for? A body?

Not a body. They were looking for “evidence,” says Slave Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. John Spaans, who was in the RCMP boat in a support role, in the river under the Hwy. 88 bridge.

What sort of evidence he was not at liberty to reveal. All he could say is it had to do with an investigation originating in another RCMP detachment area.

“They have some grounds to believe evidence was dumped into the river,” he says.

Whether they found anything Spaans also did not say. What he did say was that conditions were not great for diving. The people doing it were from the B.C. coast, brought up for the purpose. The local RCMP boat was wrangled in support and as the day warmed, Spaans says, conditions got worse.

“The ice was coming down and getting caught up on the west side of the bridge,” he says. “We were pushing it loose.”

In other police news, Spaans says “not a whole lot” had been happening in the preceding few days. Some complaints were coming in about people not following the rules on gatherings and social distancing. Those were being referred to government websites. If police have gotten involved, it’s in an educational role, Spaans says, not one of enforcement.

Bridge over the Lesser Slave: Police suspect evidence may have been tossed into the river off the bridge.

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