'Valor's had a good life,' mom says from jail
The woman accused of kidnapping her son from Grand Forks, B.C. more than seven years ago is defending her actions from jail in Arizona.
Ten-year-old Valor Howell went missing in December 2003, and his father, Garrett Taylor, has been searching for him ever since.
Taylor's patience was rewarded when police in Chandler, Arizona reported they had discovered Valor at a local Laundromat with his mother, Jamie, while responding to a report of disorderly conduct on Sunday.
Jamie Howell is now in police custody facing criminal charges, but she denies being in hiding from Taylor and police.
"What I've been doing is surviving," she said. "Valor's had a good life. He lives a good life, you know, he's a great kid."
Taylor says DNA tests have proved he is Valor's biological father, but the boy's mother thinks otherwise.
"Valor has no father in my particular eyes -- his birth certificate has no father for a reason. There is no father listed on Valor's birth certificate, I am his only parent and that is my honest-to-God's truth," Howell said.
For years, Taylor used websites, including Facebook, to try and generate tips about Valor's whereabouts. He even hired lawyers and detectives, but says he only found "dead end after dead end."
He says he was reluctant to get his hopes up when he first heard that Valor had been found.
"I've had that information in the past -- that he's been located -- then nothing ever happened," Taylor told CTV News Tuesday.
"[His abductor] ended up being able to disappear with him again."
This time is different.
"It really hit home today," Taylor said. "It's a prayer come true, literally."
He will be flying to Arizona to reunite with his son on Friday.
The boy, who is said to be in good health, has been taken into Child Protective Services' custody in the meantime. Taylor said experts will help prepare Valor for their meeting to offset the shock of seeing his father again.
"I am wondering if he will remember. He was three the last time we saw him. We had remarkable visits from when he was born ... up until age three," Taylor said.
"I'm just going to have him glued to my side for a few days and then we'll start looking at school and spend time with him 24-7."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Brent Shearer