Retired U.S. couple helps RCMP locate body of man who drowned in Alouette Lake

Mounties in Maple Ridge are honouring a retired U.S. couple who helped them uncover the body of a man who drowned in Alouette Lake last October.

Mounties in Maple Ridge are honouring a retired U.S. couple who helped them uncover the body of a man who drowned in Alouette Lake last October.

Ridge Meadows RCMP say it's believed the tragedy unfolded after the man was involved in a jet ski accident.

Multiple witnesses reported seeing the man and a woman fall off a jet ski. The woman was safely recovered by a group of people in a nearby boat shortly after, however the man had disappeared into the water, RCMP said.

Despite efforts by RCMP and Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue teams, the man was not found.

That's when Mounties decided to bring in the couple from Idaho who have made it their life mission to assist in the search for drowning victims.

Gene and Sandy Ralston volunteer their time and technology to help bring closure to families whose loved ones have drowned.

"Once arriving in Maple Ridge, the couple applied their expertise and got to work reviewing historical weather and water-current data," said Const. Julie Klaussner of Ridge Meadows RCMP, in a news release.

"On Monday, utilizing sonar technology, the couple identified a location and what was believed to be the missing man. On Tuesday, the RCMP’s underwater dive team attended the coordinates provided by Gene and Sandy and successfully recovered the missing man," she added.

The couple was awarded with certificates of commendation Wednesday for their work assisting the RCMP.

But this isn't the first time they've been successful in finding a drowning victim. The couple has located more than 100 drowning victims in lakes and rivers across Canada and the U.S. over the past 20 years.

"After an incident leaves the general public interest, families are still grieving and putting the puzzle pieces together in what happened and how to cope," said Insp. Wendy Mehat of Ridge Meadows RCMP, in a news release.

"For this reason, police will not rest and always strive to not let cold cases go unsolved. I am sure the family of this man are very thankful to (Gene and Sandy Ralston), as are we."