Amber Alert extended for missing 3-year-old
Published Thursday, September 8, 2011 8:14PM PDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 2:54AM PDT
The Amber Alert for three-year-old Kienan Hebert has been extended for another 24 hours, as fears grow that he has been abducted by a convicted criminal.
Late Thursday, a source told CTV News that police have surveillance video that shows Hebert in the company of Randall Peter Hopley.
However, RCMP are denying that claim.
An Amber Alert originally issued Wednesday has turned up no signs of Hebert, who was last seen when his parents put him to bed Tuesday evening at his home in Sparwood, B.C., about 260 kilometres southwest of Calgary.
Hebert has red hair, is believed to be wearing Scooby Doo boxer shorts and could be carrying up to three blankets with him.
He was reported missing by his parents at 9 a.m. Wednesday. By mid-afternoon a regional alert was issued, and a province-wide Amber Alert was sent out to media at 5:50 p.m.
RCMP say he was abducted by Hopley, who has a lengthy criminal history. Hopley drives a 1987 brown Toyota Camry with the B.C. licence plate 098RAL. Police warn the public not to approach the vehicle.
A mid-1990s brown Toyota Camry was discovered Thursday afternoon near 140 Mile House, but police have determined that it was a stolen vehicle unconnected to the amber alert.
Hopley, who recently returned to the Elk Valley area, has no connection the Hebert family.
Hopley's landlord Orville Sheets told CTV News that the suspect left his rented trailer sometime between 8 and 9 a.m. on Wednesday, and said he was on his way to a court date in Pincher Creek, Alta. He says Hopley had paid two months' rent and cleaned up his room before leaving.
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said there are 20 investigators from several detachments dedicated to the case, and the B.C. Solicitor General's office has authorized them to use any additional resources needed.
"We loaded this effort at the front end quite early, even before knowing this was something more than a missing child that had simply walked away from a home," he said.
Initially, police suggested that the boy may have walked away from his home during a sleepwalking episode. Kienan had previously walked into the rooms of his parents and siblings, but had never ventured outside.
Moskaluk said police have already received multiple tips about Kienan's whereabouts, and are following up on each one.
Paul Hebert describes his son as a "great kid" who is "a spirit" in their family of 10. He remains confident that he will be returned home unharmed.
"Everyone's on hand, the professionals are doing what they can do, and we just have faith that Kienan will be coming back home and safe," he said.
"You know, we miss our son. We have eight kids. Caleb, our six year old, has had three heart surgeries and now we deal with a kidnapped child."
Elk Valley RCMP have undertaken a massive search including hundreds of volunteers, ground crews and Mounties. Two cormorant helicopters dispatched from Victoria are leading an aerial search.
Moskaluk said Mounties are operating on the theory the boy could be met with foul play.
"But again we remain hopeful and optimistic in thoughts with the family that we're going to have a positive outcome to this effort so far in locating the child unharmed and well," he said.
Members of the RCMP's Southeast District Major Crime Unit have examined the scene of the disappearance to dust for fingerprints and determine what happened to Hebert, Moskaluk added.
Police have not said if there were any signs of forced entry into the home.
Hopley is well known to area police, and has previous convictions for break and enter, theft and sexual assault.
He was charged with the abduction of a child and unlawful confinement in 2008, but those charges were later dropped.
Those charges stem from a case where he squatted in an Alberta couple's vacation cabin, changing their padlocks once he was inside.
Police discovered sexual paraphernalia and stolen goods when they searched the cabin.
Hopley is currently on probation with conditions.
Paul Hebert said his family is turning to their faith to help them deal with the tragedy.
"We can't deal with it. We're only human. It's only through God we can stay strong," he said.
Sparwood Councillor Jim Banks said the small community is rallying around the family.
"We're devastated for our friends and fellow town members and we hope it resolves itself in favour of the little boy," he told CTV News in a telephone interview.
Anyone with information about the disappearance is asked to call 911 immediately.