The search for missing man Ezekiel ‘Zeke’ Fantuz of Jaffray ended when he was found deceased in his vehicle in the Bull River last Saturday.
“The truck was found just down stream from where the vehicle went into the Bull River,” said RCMP Cpl. Pat Prefontaine.
It is believed that Fantuz drove off the Bull River Forest Service Road on Monday, June 24 and was last seen at 11:15 pm that same night when he left a friends place to go home in his 1994 Nissan Pathfinder. After not showing up at home, search efforts were initiated.
Cranbrook RCMP, SAR, family and friends searched for Fantuz for six days. Search efforts were thwarted due to high water levels in the Bull River and increased turbidity, which continued to hamper everyone’s efforts to locate the vehicle and driver.
The police investigation and search efforts had confirmed a location where a vehicle left the Bull River Forest Service Road and was presumed to have entered the Bull River. Items recovered at the scene and from locations down river were confirmed by family as belonging to Fantuz.
The submerged vehicle was located by a family member on July 5, shortly after 6:00 pm who contacted the RCMP. Search and Rescue teams attended the scene and were successful that night in attaching a line to the vehicle to prevent it from moving further downstream.
After first light on Saturday, July 6 the Cranbrook RCMP along with swift water and rope rescue teams from Search and Rescue units from Kimberley, Cranbrook, Fernie and Sparwood attended the scene. SAR teams were successful in having the vehicle towed closer to shore at which time the body of 20 year old Fantuz, was recovered from the vehicle.
The Cranbrook RCMP would like to thank all the people who assisted in this case. The case is now in the hands of the BC Coroner’s office.
A memorial service was held for Fantuz on Saturday, July 6 in Jaffray.