Charges laid against suspect in Amber Alert
Published Saturday, November 17, 2012 9:07AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 17, 2012 1:34PM EST
Charges have been laid against a father accused of abducting his three-year-old son in Fernie, B.C. Thursday.
Robert Barnett, 39, has been charged with parental abduction, as well as auto theft.
The two were picked up early Friday morning in Whitefish, Montana, about 80 kilometres from the B.C. border, after an Amber Alert was issued about the boy’s abduction.
Barnett remains in custody in Montana. He has dual Canadian-American citizenship and authorities have yet to work out how to handle extradition. Police say he doesn't want to return to Canada.
Barnett and his son went missing Thursday afternoon following a supervised visit. When it became clear the pair was missing, RCMP in Elk Valley, in southeastern B.C., issued an Amber Alert and launched a province-wide manhunt.
It was quickly learned the father had crossed the border into Montana Thursday evening, in a stolen 2002 Subaru Outback. The Amber Alert was then extended into Montana.
Police in Montana were able to arrest Barnett following a tip from a local resident who had met Barnett at a bowling alley.
The resident told police Barnett had said he was sleeping in his car and asked for help with gas and food. The resident offered to buy him breakfast and suggested Barnett park near his home instead of the bowling alley parking lot. It appears he did not know Barnett had a boy with him.
When the resident saw the Amber Alert about Barnett in the morning, he called police. Barnett was arrested without incident.
Flathead County Undersheriff Dave Lieb told CTV News the three-year-old seemed to be fine following the incident.
“(The boy) was safe and he is in very good condition,” he said. “He is a happy little boy.”
The boy has since been returned to his family in B.C.
Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock said it was a team effort that helped end the situation quickly.
“Thanks to the information that was broadcast by the Montana Department of Justice last night and an alert Whitefish resident, the suspect is in custody and the abducted child is now safe," Bullock said in a statement.