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The search for a Fort St. John musician who went missing in the Quesnel area nearly two weeks ago has turned up tragic results.

The BC Coroners Service confirmed today Heath Onstine was found dead and pulled from the Johnson Slough area of the Fraser River near Hope on Monday, after going missing near the Quesnel River earlier this month. Onstine was 49.

In a release, the Coroners Service said Onstine was visiting Quesnel on the weekend of June 13. Local RCMP there became involved in a investigation the following day after reports that a car may have gone into the river off the Baston Road.

North District RCMP say officers found a license plate at the scene of the suspected accident, along with debris along the bank heading toward the river.

Underwater rescue crews had been waiting for a chance to search the river, but were stymied by high and fast-moving currents.

Hope Search and Rescue crews retrieved the body and RCMP have ruled out foul play.  Coroner officials and RCMP continue to investigate.

The Quesnel River dumps into the Fraser River, which winds its way down to the Lower Mainland and through the community of Hope. Some 90 people turned out for a public search on June 18 along the river.

Originally from Terrace, Onstine was a popular musician in Fort St. John, playing with several bands including C.C. Brooks and the Dog and Pony Show, and was slated to play with the Mat Savard Band at the upcoming CanolaFest in July, among a host of others.

Friends and acquaintances have taken to Facebook to offer their condolences.

“Glad they found him, but like everyone else, was hoping for a different ending. He is missed,” wrote Nancy Lilienweiss on a public page dedicated to public search efforts for Onstine.


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