Missing Kelowna kayaker's wife suffering from severe dementia, needs support - InfoNews

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Missing Kelowna kayaker's wife suffering from severe dementia, needs support

June 20, 2019 - 8:30 AM

KELOWNA - Zygmunt Janiewicz’s wife and children need closure.

The 71-year-old Kelowna man disappeared while kayaking May 17 and all that’s been found is his boat, and a personal floatation device similar to ones he used — both were found on the shore of Okanagan Lake near Watt Road.

“Police have done a surface and shore search, they brought in a diving team with a sonar, but they can only go as far down as 15 feet,” said Janiewicz’s son, Tomasz.

“There is another professional team that we have to pay for and they can go as far down as 500 feet.”

Janiewicz was an experienced kayaker.

“We‘re from Poland originally, and when he was in his early teens he signed up for a kayaking club and went to the national level of kayaking,” said Tomasz.

“It’s just an unfortunate event that he went out and the storm came in and I think he got caught in waves. People have said that the waves that day were like nothing they’ve seen on Okanagan Lake before.”

The family has started a GoFundMe account to help raise the funds needed for the deep water search and they're also hoping they can put aside some money to help with the care for Janiewicz’s wife, Maria.

She has severe dementia, and requires 24-hour specialized daily care, which Janiewicz was providing before he disappeared. 

“He did everything to make sure she didn’t slip into oblivion as soon,” said Tomasz.

When he went missing, Tomasz and his sibling left their lives to replace him.

“We don’t live locally, we came as soon as it happened to take care of her,” he said. “She cannot be by herself. Maria is aware her husband is gone."

“She says ‘I know my husband is dead, but I’m happy my children are here.’” he said.

Her positivity, is a small “blessing” in an otherwise very difficult situation, he said.

To help the family, the GoFundMe account can be found here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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