Scott Wolfrey will always remember his high school friend Jake Basto for a unique reason: back in 2014, they were the only two Grade 12 graduates in Makkovik.
At first, Wolfrey thought he might be the only graduate until, early in the semester, Basto transferred into the school from Hopedale.
“Over time, as I got to know Jake, (we became) close friends, especially the moment when we started talking about art,” recalled Wolfrey.
“We’d often talk to each other if we’d see each other, and we’d sometimes go on walks.”
On Aug. 9, 2014, just months after the two boys graduated, Basto would go missing from Makkovik. Despite search efforts, the missing 18-year-old’s body would not be found until May 18, 2019. According to the RCMP, Basto’s remains were found 1 km away from the community and foul play isn’t suspected in his death.
Wolfrey was resting in his bed when he heard the news of his friend’s body being found on television.
“At first, I was shocked. I only heard bits of it from the TV downstairs… I immediately got out of my bed to hear more,” said Wolfrey.
“It sort of relieved me, but it still saddened me.”
The community of Makkovik came together to try and find Basto in 2014, he says. At the time, Wolfrey was preparing to go off the college.
“People, when they heard about that, immediately went looking for him,” he recalled. “And I was hopeful that he would be found.”
Wolfrey’s most vivid memories of Basto revolves around his friend's artistic abilities. Although the two had different styles, they bonded over a shared passion for drawing.
“I did things that were a bit more cartoony and he did real-life references. He was amazed that what I drew came straight out of my head, I suppose,” said Wolfrey.
Wolfrey recalls watching Basto draw an impressive picture in the computer lab, which is how they discovered a shared enjoyment of art.
“He drew a bird, and it was pretty cool. And that’s how we kicked off our friendship,” recalled Wolfrey.
“He was very talented. True, they were very simple (drawings), but they were very detailed.”
Basto also enjoyed sports, and Wolfrey described him as “quite the athlete,” who was talented at several sports.
“He was quite good with a lot of things: volleyball, badminton, most of the stuff that was in the program that would represent the team,” said Wolfrey.
Although Basto only spent a small portion of his life in Makkovik after moving from Hopedale, Wolfrey believes his friend enjoyed living in the small town.
“I’d say he adjusted pretty well. He wasn’t used to a lot of things, but I think he really liked the peace here,” said Wolfrey.