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Experts frustrated in search for man presumed drowned in Kal Lake

Curtis Wilson, 24, was last seen June 27 in Vernon. His family refuses to give up hope finding him.
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September 28, 2015 - 9:00 PM

VERNON - Another search has failed to turn up answers in the months-long search for Curtis Wilson, a Lethbridge man presumed drowned in Kalamalka Lake.

Wilson, 24, was last seen June 27 and a series of air, land and water searches have been unable to locate him. The friend he was with, Shane Letkeman, was found dead in the lake June 28. Letkeman’s death is not considered suspicious and but is being reviewed by the B.C. Coroners Service.

Gene and Sandy Ralston, an Idaho couple who use side scan sonar to look for drowning victims, made the latest effort to find Wilson’s body. They spent the weekend, Sept. 26 and 27, combing the waters of Kal Lake, but came up empty handed.

“It’s very frustrating not being able to find somebody,” Sandy says. “This is kind of a unique case where we were going on minimal information. Usually we have a lot more to go on than this.”

The circumstances behind Letkeman’s death and Wilson’s disappearance remain unclear, and even police have called the case"‘a bit of a mystery."

Over the weekend, the Ralstons focussed their search on an area between where Letkeman’s body was found and where a team of cadaver dogs identified a point of interest. Because the area is quite rocky, Sandy says it’s very difficult for the sonar to pick up the location of a body.

“Most of the people we look for are in deeper water, having gone missing from a boat. This is apparently from the shore and that makes it closer to the rocky areas,” she says.

Without more detailed information, she says it’s difficult to progress with the search.

“There really isn’t anything more we can do,” Sandy says. “If somebody comes up with additional information or clues as to what may have happened, maybe we can do more searching.”

If the search area can be narrowed down, Sandy says it’s possible they could return with a remote operated vehicle — a small, submarine-type device — which could scour the lake bottom.

“Without having a really small area it would take us years to do a decent search (with the device),”  Sandy says.

Wilson’s sister Shanna says the family isn’t giving up hope, and will continue the search until he’s found.

“We’ve had lots of awesome experiences with volunteer organizations,” Shanna says. “The search isn’t over until we’ve found Curtis.”

The last few months have been extremely difficult for the family, Shanna says, and they are all hoping for closure.

Anyone who wishes to make a donation to keep the search going can visit the following Go Fund Me website.

Click here for previous stories on the search for Curtis Wilson. 

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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