Active Missing People

How a Boy, 13, Solved a Decades Old Missing Person Case

Janet Farris went missing 14 years before Max Werenka was even born. But thanks to the young teenager’s curiosity and observational skills, he was able to solve the mystery of her disappearance with nothing but a GoPro.

Something Strange in the Water

13-year-old Alberta resident Max Werenka was boating on Griffin Lake with his family when he noticed something strange in the water. He thought it looked like a car, but he couldn’t be sure. His mother, Nancy, admits that at first she was skeptical. “We didn’t think at the time there was much to it,” she said, but she agreed to contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to be sure.

“I always like to question things,” Werenka told reporters later. When the Mounties arrived to look into his find, they weren’t able to see the alleged crash. Undeterred, Max strapped on a GoPro camera and dove down about 15 feet to show them proof.

They Found a Body

The RCMP returned later that week with a dive team. Tragically, it turned out that there was a body in the driver’s seat of the car. “When we initially heard someone was in that vehicle, my heart just sank,” Nancy Werenka said.

Canadian police were quickly able to identify the body from the license plate of the car. Janet Farris, a 69-year-old woman who went missing in 1992.

Farris had been on her way to a wedding when her car, a Honda Accord, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They suspect that she lost control of the vehicle and ended up in Griffin Lake, less than 15 feet from the edge of the TransCanadian Highway.

‘Why Not Try?’

“I think the worst thing was not knowing,” Farris’s son, George, told reporters.”We kind of assumed that maybe she had gone off the road or fallen asleep, or tried to avoid an accident or animal on the road.”

George, now 62, said that although it’s still a “sad situation” this is “the best of all outcomes.” After nearly 30 years of not knowing what happened to his mother, he finally has closure.

As for Werenka, he’s being hailed as a keen detective. Thomas Blakney of the RCMP suggest that they’d be in touch with Max in a few years for a job. The teenager insists that he was just doing the right thing. “I couldn’t imagine for that many years, not understanding what happened to a love one,” he said. “If [it] was something that could have helped anyone, why not try?”

Bryan Wallace

Bryan Wallace

Bryan Wallace is a contributing writer for Active Missing People. With a background in journalism and a fascination with true crime—especially stories of people who disappeared without a trace—he is committed to bringing you the latest (and strangest) reports on missing people.

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