Body found in Bow

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 09, 2014 08:53 am

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Okotoks RCMP are awaiting results from the medical examiner to determine if the body of a young man found in the Bow River on July 5 is that of Justin McNeil.

The 19-year-old man went missing on June 22 after he entered the fast-flowing Highwood River northeast of Okotoks close to where it merges with the Bow River and was caught in the current and swept downstream. McNeil and his friends were spending the day at Nature’s Hideaway Family Campground.

Two weeks later, fishermen on the Bow River found the body of a young man who was later retrieved by the High River RCMP and Foothills and High River fire departments.

Foothills Fire Department Fire Chief Jim Smith said the deceased was found downstream of the Bow River about a kilometre or two from the confluence with the Highwood River - near where McNeil entered the water two weeks ago.

“We called in High River for the use of their (fan) boat,” he said, adding the body was retrieved in a muddy area the Foothills Fire Department’s jet boat couldn’t access.

The deceased was released to the medical examiner in Calgary to determine the cause of death and identify the man. An autopsy was expected to be performed on Monday.

Okotoks RCMP Cpl. Ted Byer said the RCMP may not get confirmation on the man’s identity until later this week.

“(McNeil’s) family has been apprised of the situation,” he said.

Since McNeil went missing, foothills rescue crews searched the river about 10 kilometres downstream from where he entered, but had to halt their efforts temporarily due to the swift currents following a large amount of rainfall and debris left behind by last year’s flood.

At the time of McNeil’s disappearance, Smith said a high water advisory was in effect in the area.

“We monitor the river quite frequently because it’s part of our duty. We look at everything from weather to river height to all those things,” he said.

Smith said the water levels in the foothills river are now dropping to normal levels for this time of year, yet he cautions residents and visitors to be careful no matter what the conditions.


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