WINNIPEG — The mother of two Winnipeg children who were kidnapped by their father and hidden in Mexico for four years says they are suffering from the consequences of living behind bars and not going to school or seeing a doctor.
Emily Cablek told a sentencing hearing for Kevin Maryk that her son, Dominic, is terrified when anyone knocks on their door unannounced.
“He’s afraid of the dark,” she said in a pre-recorded victim impact statement played in court Monday. “If anyone knocks on the door, he’s terrified of who it could be.”
Her daughter, Abby, has “put it behind her instead of dealing with it,” Cablek said.
“She doesn’t like to talk about anything,” she said. “They both miss their dad. They don’t understand why he did what he did.”
Maryk, 42, pleaded guilty last week to two counts of abduction. The Crown is asking for a five-year sentence while the defence is seeking two years minus credit for time already served in Mexico.
Maryk took his children from his former wife during a court-ordered visit on Aug. 16, 2008. At the time, Abby was about to turn six and Dominic was seven.
Police got a break in the case in 2012 when a neighbour in Guadalajara called authorities after recognizing the children in a Crime Stoppers video that aired in Mexico. They were brought back to their mother in Winnipeg.
Both kids have struggled to catch up in school and make friends since they returned, Cablek said. They have had trouble learning healthy eating habits and still avoid drinking water, she said. They were behind on their immunization shots and hadn’t seen a dentist.
Cablek said she lives in fear, despite the safe return of her kids. She panics if they are just a few minutes late returning home and checks on them at night to make sure they are still there.
“I am terrified,” Cablek said, breaking down into tears. “I worry that bad things will happen again. I don’t think I can handle that.
“I worry about the kids being in contact with (Maryk). I don’t know what he would do.”
Crown attorney Debbie Buors told the sentencing hearing the children were exposed to prostitution, drugs and alcohol in Mexico and were only taken out of their home at night.
The house where they were kept had cameras inside and out, thick chains on the outside door and bars on the main door, Buors said.
Dominic has talked about how they were exposed to prostitutes, gangs, corrupt police officers, drugs and alcohol, she added.
“Both Abby and Dominic say they have tried tequila.”
Although both lag far behind their peers in academic and social skills, Buors said school assessments of Abby have found she has a sexual awareness beyond her years.
When police tried to talk to her, she “curled up in a ball in the fetal position on the floor,” said the prosecutor.
Buors read two intercepted, expletive-laced letters written by Maryk from jail in which he asked another person to find out where his children were living. He talked about returning to Mexico with them.
He also made reference to having stashed money away and to his nephew Cody McKay running drugs in Mexico. McKay is being sought by police.
Maryk also suggests he was beaten and tortured when he was incarcerated in Mexico. He described spending “45 days in a cell with no light” alongside “roaches, spiders and rats.”
When Maryk was taken into custody by Canadian authorities, Buors said he didn’t make any complaints.
“At no time did he mention any difficulty with his stay in Mexican jail,” she said. “He had no complaints and had no injuries upon him.”