It’s getting to be a familiar headline — another body found.
This year there seems to have been a higher than normal number of missing persons reports, many ending tragically.
The most recent fatality involves the discovery of a man’s body in the water by Cottonwood Park in Nelson. The body was identified as Lance Garry Sparks, 52, and police believe that foul play was not a factor.
But the discovery brings the total of random deaths in this area to at least five in the past three months, not including vehicle accidents or the tragic canoe incident on Slocan Lake.
In April, Nelson’s Jade Michelle Giesen went missing, only to be discovered dead a short time later. The same scenario took place later that month when Slocan Park resident Elena Popoff disappeared. Her remains were discovered in the Columbia River near the Trail Airport.
In June, Michael Mucha left his North Shore home, never to be seen alive again. His body was also located a short time later.
In June, Rossland’s Thomas Feeney was found dead in his home, the victim of a violent homicide. To date the case remains unsolved.
In many of these incidents, foul play was “not suspected” according to police news releases.
Still, that has not stopped social media from buzzing with activity. One writer has even gone so far as to suggest a serial killer may be on the prowl in the Kootenays.
The notion is, for the most part, far-fetched. The Rossland case is believed to be an isolated incident and foul play was ruled out in he other deaths.
But if foul play has been eliminated, then the only remaining explanations are natural causes, accidental death or suicide.
We may never know how these people died, or why, but if any of them were the result of suicide, then it’s not a police problem, but a mental health issue. Let’s just hope more funds become available for needed health services. Lives may depend on it.