Okanagan drowning now deemed murder nearly three years later
It was initially thought to be a "tragic accident on the water" when an Okanagan woman drowned to death. Now, almost three years later, police accuse her husband of killing her.
On June 26, 2016, authorities were called to Okanagan Lake near Lake Country when Arlene Westervelt, 56, disappeared in the water.
At the time, police said the couple was paddling a canoe off the shores when it overturned. Her husband was picked up by a passing boat but there was no trace of her.
The incident prompted an extensive search by local fire and rescue crews that night.
The next day, specially trained divers with the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team found her body in 35 feet of water.
After a "lengthy police investigation," her 63-year-old husband, Lambertus (Bert) Westervelt, has been charged with second-degree murder.
"Bert Westervelt was taken into police custody without incident on Friday afternoon in Lake Country,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey in a press release. “RCMP Southeast District Major Crime investigators are very grateful for the public’s assistance throughout the course of this investigation.”
Westervelt is scheduled to appear in court on Monday in Kelowna.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call a dedicated tip line at 1-877-987-8477.