It took three months and some cutting-edge technology, but searchers have finally found the body of a respected Grandmother's Bay elder who disappeared on a northern Saskatchewan lake late last year.
On Saturday, volunteers discovered the body of 66-year-old Solomon Roberts. He had been missing since Nov. 12, after his snowmobile went through the ice on Otter Lake, about 100 kilometres north of La Ronge.
Roberts was a skilled trapper and hunter who was known for making birch bark baskets and cowboy hats, as well as playing the organ at the local church, said Leon Charles, Lac La Ronge Indian Band councillor for Grandmother's Bay.
The search for Roberts' body started out small, but gradually expanded to involve people from outside both Saskatchewan and Canada, said Charles, who was involved with the search from the beginning.
Eventually, it took an R.O.V., or remote operating vehicle — a small remote-controlled submarine that locates objects with bursts of sonar — to find Roberts. The Lac La Ronge Indian Band bought the submarine and trained with it at a pool in Prince Albert before lowering it into Otter Lake earlier this month, said Charles.
On Friday, the submarine discovered patterns that indicated what could have been Roberts' body, said Charles. The submarine was able to bring him to the surface the next day, he added.
Charles, who pushed for the purchase, said the vehicle can be used in other underwater searches.
"Buying one was an investment in our mind for northern Saskatchewan — or say, Saskatchewan — for us to use to help with something like this."
The RCMP said foul play is not suspected.