IIO seeks witnesses after man, 83, found dead in submerged vehicle near Port Alberni

IIO seeks witnesses after man, 83, found dead in submerged vehicle near Port Alberni
Photo: Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC
File photo.

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) says it’s seeking witnesses after an elderly man was found deceased inside his vehicle, which was submerged in Sproat Lake on Vancouver Island.

Around 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13, RCMP responded to a report about a missing man, 83, who was driving a green Pontiac Sunfire, according to information provided by police to the IIO.

That same day, Port Alberni RCMP issued a release saying they were searching for the man with Dementia who was last seen driving in the Lakeshore Road (Pacific Rim Highway) area.

The IIO says a Mountie reportedly located and spoke with the man around 8:40 p.m. on Dec. 13.

Later that night, around 10:23 p.m., someone called RCMP saying the man had not returned home, prompting officers to then search for him again.

“On December 15, 2023, the man was sadly located deceased in his vehicle, which was submerged in water in Sproat Lake near the 10700-block of Lakeshore Road,” said the IIO in its release.

RCMP issued an updated release later that day, saying the man was found deceased.

The IIO says it was notified shortly after the incident occurred. It adds that an initial investigation will determine the details of the man’s interaction with the officer and where he went after speaking with them.

Anyone in the area who saw a green Pontiac Sunfire between 8:45 p.m. on Dec. 13 and noon on Dec. 15 is asked to contact the IIO via phone at 1-855-446-8477 or the contact form on its website.

The IIO, B.C.’s police watchdog, is an independent civilian oversight agency that investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.

UPDATE: Officers found not at fault in Port Alberni death: IIO

A green Pontiac Sunfire is seen in this picture provided by Port Alberni RCMP.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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