RCMP confirmed a body spotted in Great Slave Lake last week belongs to one of three people reported missing between Dettah and Łutselk’e.
A specialist police team reached the body on Monday.
Police identified the body as that of missing 65-year-old Sam Boucher in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
Search and rescue teams spent five days last week scouring the lake from the air, with ice conditions too treacherous for a ground search as temperatures rise.
A body was seen from a helicopter on Friday, leading RCMP to suspend their search for Boucher, his 23-year-old daughter Cammy, and a third individual.
On Tuesday, police said they believe the third person is Jake Gully, a 28-year-old from Fort Good Hope.
Gully and Cammy Boucher are being treated as missing persons, though police say they have evidence indicating the two “suffered the same fate” as Sam Boucher.
The three had left Dettah with a snowmobile and two toboggans late on Monday, May 13, before being reported overdue a day later.
Describing the body’s recovery, police said three officers and a federal Fisheries and Oceans staff member were able to retrieve the body and some associated debris on Monday, May 20.
However, a helicopter search could find no sign of the remaining two missing people or their effects.
The NWT coroner’s office confirmed the body found is that of Sam Boucher, a well-known and highly respected traveller on the land, from Łutselk’e.
“RCMP stayed in constant communication with the families of the missing persons, including the plans for recovery of the deceased and the identification of Samuel Boucher,” said police.
“Yellowknife RCMP General Investigative Section will continue to investigate the missing persons’ files for the remaining missing two persons.
“RCMP encourage anyone with any information on their whereabouts in the days leading up to May 13 to please contact your local detachment.”
More trips are planned over the area where the body was found.
Police continue to warn people not to enter the ice of Great Slave Lake on foot, as conditions continue to shift.
“Our officers have been on the water and experienced the conditions first-hand. They strongly urge people to stay off the ice and water,” said Staff Sergeant Yannick Hamel.
By: OLLIE WILLIAMS