RCMP confirm human remains found at the estuary in Bella Coola Feb. 27 are connected to a guided fishing boat that capsized on the Bella Coola River last summer with two tourists and a guide on board.
“On Thursday, March 3, 2022, BC Coroners Service positively identified the deceased as Keith Epp. Mr. Epp was one of three people reported missing following a boating mishap in August 2021,” noted the RCMP in a news release issued March 10.
The remains were discovered by residents walking in the estuary on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Human remains were also recovered Oct. 9, 2021 in the estuary relating to the boating incident.
Tourist Andrea Murdoch, 51, of Victoria, B.C. has never been located.
The body of her husband, Cameron Murdoch, 42, was recovered on Aug. 10, 2021, the same day the couple went on a guided fishing trip on the Bella Coola River. The couple had travelled to Bella Coola to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.
At the time, police said the boat was seen at the confluence of the Salloompt River and the Bella Coola River where they had stopped for a period of time to fish. The boat, which was identified as a fishing guide boat from a local lodge, was later spotted adrift without occupants near Walker Island.
Dave Newsted, Andrea’s brother, said there is a lot of sadness, anger and unanswered questions surrounding the death of his sister.
“Is anything different? Has anything changed? Who is responsible,” Newsted said.
Sgt. Trevor Romanchych is the detachment commander for the Bella Coola RCMP overseeing the case.
“This very well could have been preventable if personal flotation devices were worn,” said Romanchych.
“There’s no forgiveness in fast-moving water.”
A spokesperson with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada confirmed the TSB is not investigating the boating incident which led to the deaths of the tourists.