Lytton RCMP and the BC Coroners Service have confirmed the body of a Lytton-area man, Duane Aleck, was recovered from the Fraser River Aug. 12 and family are now grieving their lost relative.
Duane Aleck, 59, was reported missing June 20 after failing to return from a fishing trip. On Oct. 5, an RCMP news release confirmed the identity of a deceased male pulled from the Fraser south of Yale was Aleck.
Aleck’s youngest sister Joyce McBryde said finding out about his death a few days ago was a relief, as it allowed for some closure for the family.
“We’re not left wondering, like lots of families are out there,” she said Wednesday, adding the past few months have been very emotionally difficult.
McBryde only met her brother for the first time when she was 22, as she was adopted out when she was young and found her family later in life. She remembers him as a loving and spiritual man, who faced hardships but offered everything to the community.
“I remember him as a loving brother. He enjoyed drumming and dancing at powwows. I remember that there was always a sparkle in his eyes when he’d tell stories and he had a lot of cultural knowledge and teachings. Not everybody is open to that, and I’m glad he had that kind of foundation, later on in his life,” she said. Aleck was part of the Stein Rediscovery youth camp, which brought youth from Fraser Canyon First Nations into nature to discover the strength of cultural traditions, the wisdom of elders as well as respect and love for nature and fellow human beings.
Aleck had been missing for nearly four months before the news about his body being identified was shared last week. He went missing during a fishing trip in late June.
On June 18, both Boston Bar and Lytton RCMP received one report each from witnesses who described seeing a body in an orange life jacket floating down the Fraser River. The second report, which came in to the Lytton RCMP, described the body as an adult male with long hair.
Aleck was not reported missing until June 20, when a friend reported he failed to come back from a fishing trip he embarked on June 18.
“It was not unusual for Aleck to spend one night away on a fishing trip. It wasn’t until Aleck failed to return after the second night that his friend reported him missing,” a June 25 RCMP news release stated. “The friend had gone to the site where Aleck went fishing and found some personal belongings on the shore.”
The RCMP investigation found one more witness, who reported seeing Aleck go into the river with an orange life jacket. It is possible Aleck went into the river to untangle a net, the RCMP stated.
While the RCMP presumed Aleck had drowned, the family continued their search for their beloved family member. The family appealed for helping hands financial support through a Facebook page (Search for Duane Alvin Aleck) and a Gofundme campaign (River Search & Rescue – Duane Aleck).
The family also launched boards into the Fraser River, painted bright orange with contact details for the family, and appealed for those who found the boards to let them know where the currents had taken them.
RCMP are treating Aleck’s death as ‘non-criminal in nature.’
Aleck’s family held a wake Wednesday and are holding a funeral service for him today, together with community members of Lytton First Nation.
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