Man charged in 2018 kidnapping gets preliminary hearing

Accused facing charges of kidnapping and sexual assault in connection with October 2018 incident

A man accused of kidnapping and sexual assaulting a woman last October will have a preliminary hearing in July.

Red Deer RCMP said they were called to a gas station near 39th Street and 40th Avenue about 7 a.m. on Oct. 17 after a witness reported seeing a woman apparently being forced into a maroon Chevrolet Avalanche.

A possible victim and suspect were quickly identified by police.

In the early afternoon, a good Samaritan couple encountered one of the suspects and the victim southeast of Red Deer and drove them to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Shortly after 3 p.m., police acting on a tip from the public found the alleged victim and a suspect at a residence near the South Hill.

The woman was injured but did not require hospitalization.

A man was arrested and taken into custody. An alleged accomplice was arrested in the evening. Both suspects were known to the woman, said police.

Ernest Frederick Ward, then-47, was charged with kidnapping, forcible confinement, assault, sexual assault, uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, obstructing justice and two counts of failing to comply with court orders.

Ward’s preliminary hearing will take place in Red Deer provincial court on July 8.

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