Nova Scotia confinement suspect arrested in Ontario
Published Monday, October 1, 2012 8:18AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 1, 2012 10:03PM EDT
One of two suspects wanted in a Nova Scotia confinement case has been arrested in Ontario, while investigators believe the second man is heading west toward Calgary.
Ontario Provincial Police confirmed Monday that David James Leblanc was arrested on the weekend in northwestern Ontario.
Leblanc, 47, of Nova Scotia, was wanted in connection to the sexual assault and forcible confinement of a 16-year-old boy in a community west of Halifax.
Nova Scotia police announced last week that Leblanc and another man, Wayne Alan Cunningham, were believed to be heading for Ontario.
Investigators in Longlac, Ont., a community near Thunder Bay, say they received a report on Sunday of a suspicious male in distress, and identified the suspect as Leblanc.
OPP Staff Sgt. Carl Pettigrew said officers were alerted to a man wandering along the road without shoes and wearing only light clothing in near-freezing weather.
"He appeared to be having the effects of being in the elements, not dressed for the conditions, suffering somewhat from exposure," Pettigrew told The Canadian Press on Monday.
"It all came to a shock when I heard about it,” Anna Leblanc, the accused’s niece, told CTV News. "I'm kind of happy, but I still say he should have gave himself up a long while ago."
Leblanc will appear before video court on Monday.
Cunningham, 31, is believed to be heading toward Calgary in a grey 2003 Hyundai Elantra with Nova Scotia licence plate FBP-233.
He is wanted on the same charges.
Cunningham’s parents issued a statement urging their son to turn himself in to police.
“Wayne, stop and give yourself up. They’ll get you in the end,” Sylvia and Gilbert Cunningham wrote. “They’ve already got David.”
The accused pair’s former neighbour, Connie Craig, said Cunningham may be difficult to recognize because “he can change himself.”
“He can look like a girl,” Craig said. “You’d never know the difference ‘cause I’ve seen him dressed like a girl, and I thought it was a girl.”
The RCMP’s Southwest Nova Major Crimes Unit alleges that the 16-year-old was taken to a home in Upper Chelsea, N.S., held captive and sexually assaulted for 10 to 14 days.
Police say that the boy managed to escape and ran to a nearby home for help. Alice Arnold, the home’s resident, told CTV Atlantic last week that she called police after a teenager chained at his ankles and wrists knocked on her door and asked for help.
Arnold said he was barefoot and wore only a hat and jacket -- wearing nothing below the waist.
Arnold said she called 911 but the boy ran off. Officers found the teenager at a nearby home.
According to court documents filed by police last week, the boy was abducted while sleeping on the streets of Halifax. He woke up in the back of a van and was driven to a residence where two men held him captive and sexually assaulted him over several days.
The court documents also allege that the teenager overheard his captors discussing a plan to sell him on the black market.
Sources tell CTV News the teen is now back home with his mother, trying to recover from the ordeal.
Leblanc was set to appear in court in November on charges of sexual assault, as well as making, possessing and distributing child pornography. Those charges stemmed from a previous arrest.
Anyone with any information on Cunningham’s whereabouts is asked to contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.
With a report from CTV’s Atlantic Bureau Chief Todd Battis and files from Matthew Coutts