ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Authorities in Newfoundland and Labrador lauded the successful resolution of the province’s first Amber Alert, with police saying Friday that a tip from the public led police to a missing 12-year-old boy who was found safe at a ferry terminal on the province’s west coast.
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary had issued the alert — the province’s first ever in 17 years — on Thursday out of concern for the missing boy’s safety after he was allegedly abducted by his father in Corner Brook, N.L. at around 9:45 a.m.
The 47-year-old man was arrested with the help of the RCMP at the Marine Atlantic ferry terminal in Port aux Basques, which crosses to North Sydney, N.S.
He was returned to Corner Brook to appear in court Friday on charges of parental abduction, theft of a motor vehicle and breach of a court order.
A Corner Brook provincial court officer said the man has been remanded to custody and will return to court on Jan. 14 to enter a plea.
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Sgt. Bob Edwards said Friday that Newfoundland and Labrador’s first Amber Alert since the program was introduced in 2003 went smoothly.
“We do deal with crisis situations every day,” he said from Corner Brook. “This is just another crisis situation, and we’re glad it worked out the way it did.”
Edwards said a team of 15 officers were working on the case from Corner Brook, corresponding with other constabulary and RCMP detachments to pursue tips that poured in from across the island, some as far as Clarenville, 500 kilometres to the east of the small western city.
Authorities at ports of exit, ferry services, regional airlines and police in Blanc-Sablon, Que., where a ferry crosses the Strait of Belle Isle from Newfoundland, were all notified during the search for the missing child, Edwards said. Even wildlife officials were briefed as the critical search unfolded in the wooded region of western Newfoundland.
Several calls in the Port aux Basques area led up to the final credible tip at 6:45 p.m. that Edwards said brought the RCMP to the terminal where the child was located about ten minutes later.
The boy and his father were found about 220 kilometres southwest of Corner Brook, where he was last seen that morning.
“It was a pretty busy day,” Edwards said. “We had tips coming in from virtually all parts of the island part of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
He said every tip was looked into and appreciated.
“Everybody was on board and that’s the reason why it was successful at the end of the day,” Edwards said.
According to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s news release with the Amber Alert, the police force received the report of a parental-child abduction at 12:25 p.m. on Thursday.
The Amber Alert was sent out at 3:15 p.m. Just over two hours later at 5:35 p.m., an electronic emergency alert was issued through mobile phones, television and radio in the province using the warning system Pelmorex.
The Department of Municipal Affairs, which is responsible for the warning system through Fire and Emergency Services, said in a statement that police-issued Amber Alerts do not automatically trigger an electronic alert through the Pelmorex warning system and they must be requested by police.
The department said the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary requested the electronic alert at 4:22 p.m. and the department’s Emergency Services Division worked with police to prepare a statement over the next hour.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2020.
Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press