The mother of two children who became the subject of an 11-day Amber Alert across British Columbia has been charged with abduction after being arrested in Alberta, police announced Sunday.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Vanessa Munn said investigators “became aware” of a rural property near Edson, Alta. on Saturday morning and engaged that province’s emergency response team, who entered the property that evening and safely recovered the missing kids.
“The children have been reunited with their family, who are extremely grateful,” Munn said at a news conference Sunday. “This is the outcome we have all been hoping for.”
Munn said police arrested two adults and detained a third during the recovery of the missing children, and the two arrested individuals — the children’s 45-year-old mother and her 53-year-old boyfriend — have been charged with variations of different abduction charges.
Both are being held in Alberta awaiting their next court appearance, although Munn said the plan is to have them transferred back to British Columbia to continue their legal proceedings at some point.
An Amber Alert was originally issued on July 19 for an eight-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother, who were not returned to their father — who has primary custody — after going on vacation with their mother.
Police had previously said there was no evidence to suggest the children’s mom or anyone travelling with her had left British Columbia, with video footage of sightings of the entire group in Merritt on July 7 and the mother alone in Kamloops on July 15.
Munn said police now believe the group may have been at the Alberta property they rented since July 18, although until Saturday morning there was no evidence to suggest they had left British Columbia for certain.
The group was also said to be travelling with the children’s grandfather, who Munn said was detained but not charged.
“Based on the investigative information that we have so far and all the evidence, there is nothing to suggest at this point in time that he took any steps to aid and abet in the abduction of these children,” Mun said.
Surrey RCMP also said they are limited in what they can say about the case, since the investigation remains ongoing and the matter is now before the courts.
Munn said the children’s father was waiting at a nearby RCMP detachment in Alberta when the recovery took place on Saturday, and the family was quickly reunited after officers made the arrests at the rural property near Edson.
“The kids are doing well, considering everything,” Munn said. “I think a key part of that was being able to be quickly reunited with their father. Undoubtedly, there’s a lot for them to process… But the key and important part is that they are safe.”
The Amber Alert linked to the case was among the most high-profile in the province in recent memory, with police launching a dedicated tip line and email account to gather information on the missing children.
Police say they received a total of 435 tips from British Columbia and Alberta, as well as jurisdictions as far away as New Brunswick.