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Fort McPherson man found

Peel River finally yields body of Edwin Francis

Kevin Wilson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 06/01) - The Peel River finally yielded the body of Edwin Francis from its chilly depths, two weeks after he apparently fell out of his boat.

A local resident found the 30-year-old Fort McPherson man's body late last Sunday afternoon, not far from where his boat was found

"We've had a couple of drownings (in the community) in the last few years where the body hasn't surfaced," said Sgt. Kurt Lozinski, Fort McPherson's RCMP detachment commander.

"That can be very hard on a family, so we're relieved that he's been found," Lozinski added.

Francis' empty Lund motorboat was discovered July 13. His backpack and rifle were inside the boat, and the lines were coiled inside the boat, indicating that it had not been tied up.

Francis had told his family he was heading out on the river to do some fishing. His boat and belongings were found about five kilometres from his camp.

After a week of fruitless searching, police scaled back their efforts, but members of the community continued to patrol the Peel and the surrounding bush for Francis.

Bernice Francis, told News/North her son was a "hard working boy," who loved going out on the land. A picture of Edwin skinning a freshly caught beaver is prominently displayed in her living room.

"We've got a cabin out there," said Francis. "(Edwin's) dad built the cabin for the boys, and we were always out there."

She said that while her family is still trying to cope with the grief of their loss, "all the support from people and their comforting words and prayers are helping."

Scores of people from Fort McPherson and from as far away as Old Crow joined in the search, and helped to feed the search crews.

An autopsy was to be conducted in Edmonton July 31. Lozinski says foul play is not suspected.