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   Volume 81 - Issue 38 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: news@passherald.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
"The night time, it's scary to the kids now, because the Boogie Man was real."
- Paul Hebert  
   
   

 

Story
Brielle Will photo
MANHUNT FOR ABDUCTOR - RCMP search teams scour the area surrounding the subdivision in Whiskey Jack where the Hebert family reside in hunt of any evidence to find the suspect abductor, now in custody as of September 13th, of Kienan Hebert, who was returned home on September 11th.
 
An extensive search for Randall Hopley, the man accused of abducting three-year-old Sparwood boy Kienan Hebert from his family home in Sparwood on September 7th, came to an end after a turn of remarkable and nearly improbable weeklong events.
A night of tracking led RCMP officer Corporal Frank Roberts and police service dog Taz, to an abandoned mining house near the Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp and Graymont Western Canada on the morning of Tuesday September 13th.
Roberts knocked on the door when Taz indicated someone was inside, and following his attempted escape, a short chase resulted in the arrest of the suspect, 46 year old Hopley.
His vehicle was also located nearby.
The investigative team almost immediately identified Hopley – a local man with a history of many criminal offences, including a 1985 sexual assault charge – as a person of interest following Kienan’s disappearance.
Investigators never lost sight of the fact that they had to stay on to an operational plan, stated RCMP Inspector Brendan Fitzpatrick.
Finding Kienan was the first priority and with him safely returned, focus moved onto the second investigative phase in the manhunt to bring Hopley into custody.
During a press conference the day of Hopley’s arrest, RCMP said it was not one single piece of information, but an “analysis of intelligence and the profile” of Hopley that led them to their final area of focus.
The area where Hopley was found was close to where he was found squatting in a vacation home in Sentinel in May 2010.
Manager of Crowsnest Bible Camp Rea Bryant said RCMP fingerprinted the main office and seized their computers, suspected to have been used by Hopley.
Bryant said staff were told by RCMP that Hopley may have broken into the office and used the computer to access the Internet, however that was not known for certain.
“He was caught over near Graymont, and RCMP mentioned a gravel pit and they mentioned a house,” said Bryant, who has worked at the camp for the past 22 years.
“They mentioned a whole bunch of things, but we are very glad they caught the guy they are looking for,” Bryant stated.
Hopley’s mother, 70-year-old Margaret Fink, said now that her son is caught, she hopes he will receive help but is hoping she can speak with him.
“I have been thinking of him and just watching television, he seems to be in pretty good shape, which I was worried about for a while,” said Fink.
“I am glad he has been caught,” she said.
“He needs a lot of help.”
According to Fink, the Crowsnest Lake area is nothing new to her son.
“I know that rock-cut where he was caught, we used to walk around that place a lot when the kids were small,” she said.
She also noted that Hopley was taken away from her when he was small “and has been gone ever since”.
“In his adult years he loved Sparwood, always has,” she said about him visiting her on occasion, but continuing to return to live Sparwood.
“I miss him,” Fink added.
“Nobody has told me nothing since they said he got in through a window at the bible camp and was maybe there for a while.”
“That was it, and everything has been so quiet since they got him.”
 

Hopley’s landlord, Orville Sheets, who has known the petty criminal since 1996, sold Hopley his vehicle and said that after Hopley lost his father around the age of six, he was bounced around foster homes.
Sheets said, “Losing your parents is a tough go the whole way through your life,” and added that Hopley may have longed for his own family at the age of 46, “but he needs help and even the boy’s parents have said the justice system is failing.”
Hopley made his first court appearance on September 14th in Cranbrook, where he faced charges of kidnapping and the abduction of a minor under 14 years of age.
The judge ordered a psychiatric assessment to determine whether Hopley is fit to stand trial before returning to court on November 9th for a bail hearing.
Hopley’s lawyer William Thorne said in a statement to the media that Hopley is “sorry for the situation he’s in,” and he is glad the boy is home safe.
"Hopley has a story to tell and eventually – not yet – his story will come out," said Thorne.
Paul Hebert, father of the young redheaded Kienan and seven other children, was delivered the news of Hopley’s capture Tuesday morning by two Elk Valley RCMP and said, “It was a huge weight lifted off of our shoulders.”
“We were happy to have Kienan back, but we were worried for the community as well,” said the emotional Hebert after the harrowing a week.
“Now that the community is taken care of, we can all rest a little easier.”
A few days prior, parents Hebert and his wife Tammy wept as they made a public plea for Hopley to return Kienan.
In a matter of 12 hours, Kienan was found safe and sound in his home, in bright spirits and later reported to be physically unharmed after a full medical assessment.
From the first day of Kienan’s mysterious disappearance in the middle of the night on Wednesday, September 7th, until he was dropped off in an equally unusual and undetected return at approximately 3 a.m. on Sunday, September 11th, a sense of optimism shone through from the family, community and the hundreds of volunteers, each of whom had faced many walls of despair in the five seemingly endless days of search.
Each morning saw Search and Rescue teams switching from long tireless night shifts to a weary day ahead, and the knowledge of the extremely low probability Kienan would be returned to his residence.
However, Kienan’s return was accomplished with the continued support of the community that kept its faith, prayer, and thoughts for the family, as well as through the assistance of all media agencies from B.C., Alberta, and nation wide, according to RCMP media relations officer, Corporal Dan Moskaluk.
“The research and statistics tell us that the longer a kidnap victim has not been returned, the higher chance for the worst case scenario,” said
Fitzpatrick, who noted that 150 police members were involved with the investigation.
“The ups and downs, their hearts and souls were put into it. To have Kienan found was exhilarating and now with the arrest is a very proud moment for the RCMP.”
District of Sparwood Acting Mayor, Sharon Fraser, has lived in the Elk Valley all of her life and though proud of her community, said this will change people.
“Nobody locks their doors and it is a piece of freedom and innocence we have perhaps lost,” said the 64-year-old Fraser.
“We have learned a lesson to be more vigilant in the community and with each others children.”
Fraser said she was with the efforts of SAR and RCMP members.
“They were doing everything within their power,” she said “and the bottom line... is that we may not have been privy to all of the information, but Kienan and Randall are both where they need to be.”
The Hebert family has been able to get back to everyday life, as they began moving back into their home the morning the abductor was arrested, making room for two new canine additions to the reunited family.
“I have a boxer on the way and Tammy wants an Airdale Terrier,” said Paul.
He added that the family is excited to be able to move on.
“The night time, it’s scary to the kids now because the boogieman was real,” said the father of eight. “Now we can just get back to reality and hopefully live a good life.”
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