SYDNEY — Alberta RCMP have confirmed that the body found Saturday in the Bow River is that of a former Glace Bay resident.
"Yes, it was Justin McNeil," said Sgt. Josée Valiquette, an Alberta RCMP spokeswoman, on Thursday.
McNeil, 19, went missing June 22 while on a camping trip with friends at the Nature's Hideaway Campground, 40 kilometres south of Calgary. According to RCMP, they were on the Highwood River bank near the Bow River and McNeil went into the river for a swim. But he was immediately caught in the current and swept downstream. His friends phoned for help and area police and firefighters began a search of river, banks and surrounding area, including 10 km downstream. After an initial search failed to find any sign of McNeil, friends and family continued looking and the body was found Saturday by recreational fishermen.
For family members, the confirmation is bittersweet.
"We found out last night," said Sheila MacLean, McNeil's biological mother, her voice breaking. "I'm relieved to confirm that it's him, but I had that hope, you know, that maybe he was just somewhere else."
A memorial service will be held in Calgary on Saturday at St. Mary's University College and a later service will also be held in Cape Breton.