B.C. fugitive built child lair in Alberta cabin: family
The family whose cabin was broken into and then turned into a warped child's playroom, allegedly by a B.C. fugitive, wants to know how a man with so many warning signs could have been released into the public before his trial.
Randall Hopley is charged with squatting for months last year in a cabin belonging to the Skapin family in Crowsnest Pass, filling the drawers with stolen children's clothing, chocolate bars and sex toys and building a room that could be locked from the outside.
Authorities charged Hopley in the case, but released him months later. Now, police believe he has abducted three-year-old Kienan Hebert. It's a situation the Alberta justice system should have prevented, said Laura Skapin, who lives in Calgary.
"When I heard about this case, I thought, ‘Thank God Randall Hopley hasn't been released,' – and then I found out he had been," Skapin told CTV News.
"If this little boy is harmed because of that, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered."
Hopley has at least 11 assault and burglary convictions, and was also accused of attempting to abduct and molest a Sparwood boy in 2007 – a case that boy's mother says wasn't handled well either. He was convicted of sexual assault in 1985.
But Skapin believes the clearest indication of Hopley's plans was found in their cabin last year.
Skapin said that last May she, her brother, and her two adult children visited the cabin on Crowsnest Lake to scatter her mother's ashes. But they found the gate lock had been changed and a strange man was on the property.
"He looked like a druggie," recalled Skapin, adding that he was wearing women's pajama bottoms. "He was spewing all sorts of profanity."
The Skapins called the police, and the RCMP arrested Hopley while he was trying to escape in his truck. He was charged with 12 counts, including breaking and entering and possessing stolen property.
In amongst jerry cans, propane tanks, vehicle tires and generators that were stolen from Alberta Fish and Wildlife, there was a photo of a young child with dark hair, according to court documents.
There was stolen lotion, children's movies, sex toys and children's pajama pants that had been cut up to become a thong. A wall had been knocked down and replaced with a Dora the Explorer blanket.
"Police found a variety of things set up for a young child, like a baby: diapers, stuffed clothing and a variety of sexual paraphernalia," said Joni MacFarlane, a reporter from the Crowsnest Pass Promoter who covered the story at the time.
"There was no mistaking his intentions. It was horrible…. We [came to the cabin] and ruined his plans. He was very upset about that," said Skapin.
Hopley's trial is scheduled for Sept. 19. He was ordered released with several conditions, including to keep the peace, and have no contact with the Skapins and others. He was bound by a curfew to stay at his residence in Sparwood between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
But as Skapin points out, the conditions don't keep him away from children, playgrounds, or schools.
"That makes me sick," she said.
The cabin had been in the family for five generations, but now Skapin hasn't been able to return. The family has since had it torn down.
"I couldn't go in there. I haven't been back since," she said.
She said she hopes that Hebert will soon be reunited with his family.
"I hope that little boy is okay," she said.