- Hopley caught running from abandoned home by police with tracking dogs
The man accused of abducting a three-year-old boy from his bed in Sparwood, B.C., has been arrested on charges of kidnapping and abduction of a person under age 14, the RCMP said as it released more details on his arrest.
Randall Peter Hopley was taken down with the assistance of police dogs as he was running from an abandoned cabin at a bible camp in the Crowsnest Lake area in Alberta near the B.C. border on Tuesday morning, police confirmed at a news conference in Sparwood in the afternoon.
Charges have not been laid, but Hopley is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick of the RCMP said.
Hopley, 46, is accused of abducting Kienan Hebert from his home in Sparwood last Wednesday. Kienan was returned unharmed to his family home on Sunday morning.
Court documents indicate Hopley has been charged with two counts of breach of probation. One of the breaches is alleged to have occurred last Wednesday, and the other on Monday.
Police released few details on how they tracked Hopley down and declined to say whether Kienan gave them any information that helped to locate the suspect.
Fitzpatrick said investigators were alerted after a dog handler knocking on a cabin door was given the indication from his dog that someone might be inside. He said Hopley was captured after making an effort to escape.
Fitzpatrick said Kienan's safe return was a relief to investigators, some of whom worked up to 20 hours a day on the case.
"I will say that the probability that Kienan be returned to his residence was extremely low. It's a virtually unprecedented situation," he said.
"The research that we've done tells us that. The statistics and research tells us that the longer a kidnap victim has not been returned, the higher the chances that a worse-case scenario takes place."
Police also addressed questions around how Hopley allegedly returned Kienan to his family home without being captured by police.
"I can tell you absolutely there was no deal made with Mr. Hopley," Fitzpatrick said.
"Purely and simply that was an investigational tactic that was employed by our investigation team. It was a plea made by the family and then a plea by the police to Mr. Hopley. The idea behind the whole thing was to appeal to him with the thought that he could be monitoring the media."
Police confirmed the believe Hopley allegedly acted alone and dispelled reports that had indicated he may have had an accomplice.
Police did not release any information about where Kienan may have been held during the time he was missing.
Hopley is said to be in good condition and was transported by police to Sparwood and then on to Cranbrook following his arrest.
Community welcomes arrest
Kienan's mother, Tammy Hebert, said the news came as a welcome relief.
"I was really excited when they phoned and said they got him," she said.
"I'm happy for the community so that everybody can just move on and not be wondering and in fear and ... hopefully he'll stay there [so] we don't have to go through this again."
The boy's father, Paul Hebert, who has been the family's spokesman during the past week, was elated at the news.
"We're relieved and now we can go to bed at night and the community's safe," he said.
"We knew the RCMP were going to catch him, but to actually catch him was really exciting. We just thought it was going to happen, there was no doubt in our minds but it was just pretty exciting."
Sharon Fraser, Sparwood's acting mayor, said she hopes news of the arrest helps her community move on after what she described as "the longest week in Sparwood."
"My God, maybe now we can get back to some reality and normality, you know?"
Still, Fraser said Kienan's disappearance taught Sparwood residents some difficult lessons and she suggested life may never return completely to normal.
"This is one of the hardest lessons all of us have had to learn, that we can't leave our doors unlocked and we can't let out children just run and we know that they've maybe only gone to the neighbour."
Lengthy criminal record
This is not the first time Hopley has been arrested in the area. According to local newspaper reports published in the Crowsnest Pass Promoter, Hopley was arrested while squatting on a nearby property in May 2010.
According to a court official in Lethbridge, Hopley is facing 12 charges including breaking and entering and possession of stolen property in connection with that incident. A preliminary hearing was set for Sept. 19 in Pincher Creek, Alta.
According to court records and people who know him, Hopley has a lengthy criminal record and at least one brush with the law involving a child.
In November 2007, he was charged with breaking and entering, unlawful confinement and attempted abduction, confirmed Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie. The indictment for the case indicates the victim was under 16 years old.
Hopley pleaded guilty to breaking and entering and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, but the unlawful confinement and attempted abduction charges were stayed over concerns about evidence.
In the mid-1980s, Hopley was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to two years in federal prison, the National Parole Board confirmed. The board didn't have details about what happened or the age of the victim because parole records are destroyed after 10 years.
This past June, Hopley was sentenced to two months in jail and two months of probation after he was convicted of an assault that occurred in Sparwood in April.
Hopley was also convicted in 2006 for breaking and entering in Sparwood, and was given a conditional sentence of nine months, according to court records.
In 2003, he received a one-year conditional sentence for theft under $5,000, and in 2002 he was handed a three-month conditional sentence after he was convicted of breaking and entering. Hopley also has several convictions for breaching conditions.