Missing Vancouver boy found in Arizona; mother in custody
Police say a missing nine-year-old Vancouver boy has been found safe more than 2,500 kilometres away in Phoenix, Ariz. after he was allegedly abducted by his mother earlier this month.
The child was reported missing on Friday, March 9 after his father, who shares custody of the boy, went to pick him up from school, but he wasn’t there.
Police were called in soon after and detectives with the Vancouver Police Department’s Special Investigations Section took over the case.
With the help of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the VPD were able to track down child, his mother and his younger sister on Tuesday.
The boy’s mother, Shawna Puja Chaudhary, has been taken into custody and is expected to be extradited to Canada.
Crown Counsel in B.C. has already approved a charge of abduction in contravention of a custody order against Chaudhary. Vancouver police say they will take her into custody once she’s back in the city.
Authorities are working with the Ministry of Children and Family Development to have the two children returned to Canada as well.
It's unclear how Chaudhary crossed the border and if U.S. authorities had been informed about the alleged abduction.
"I don't have the specifics on the route," said VPD Const. Jason Doucette. "Obviously, they've crossed an international border and our partners in the United States have been more than helpful and we've worked together on this diligently."
The boy's father told CTV News Wednesday he is thankful his son is safe.
He couldn't say, however, why Chaudhary chose to go to Phoenix, adding that she has no connection to the city that he knows of.
Chaudhary and the boy’s father share custody and have a court-ordered parenting schedule, but it’s unclear who will take care of him once he’s back in the country.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Scott Hurst