A B.C. Supreme Court justice has handed down a guilty verdict in Prince George linked to the death of a young boy in 2000, but the convicted man wasn't in court to hear it
On Friday, the judge found Lloyd Cook not guilty of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death, but guilty of unlawful confinement and interference with the dead body of 13-year old Adam Williams Dudoward.The verdict was originally to be handed down Jan. 31, but Cook failed to show up, saying that he was having car troubles in Williams Lake.
He did speak to Williams Lake RCMP that morning, but hasn't spoken to RCMP since then and warrant was issued for his arrest last week.
Police are actively looking for Cook and the judge has deemed him an "absconder," or voluntarily absent.
While the judge gave his verdict in Cook's absence, he decided to hold off on sentencing until Cook turns up, or until after "a suitable period of time."
The Crown is seeking two consecutive sentences of two to three years. The defence is seeking 18 months.
The victim's biological father Wayne Dudoward said he was very disappointed in both the verdict and the fact that Cook still hasn't been found.
"In some ways it didn't surprise me. To me he's just guilty. Any innocent man... any innocent person would be here for their verdict. You know it's like, 'Here I am, I have nothing to hide.' But no, he didn't show up."
With Cook still missing, Dudoward is left with uncertainty.
"I almost feel now that there will be no closure to this."
Boys died tied to bed
During the trial, the court heard how 13-year old Adam Williams Dudoward died in January 2000 after his mother Judy Williams and Lloyd Cook, her common-law partner at the time, tied him up to a bed in their trailer home in Prince George.
After two or three days Cook and Williams found Adam in distress. Cook tried to revive Adam with CPR, but was unable to.
No one called 911. Instead the couple wrapped up the body in a blanket and put it in the trunk of a vehicle for several weeks, which they drove around Prince George.
Adam's death was never reported to the authorities and they eventually buried his body in a shallow grave off North Nechako Road in an isolated wooded area just outside the city.
When the Ministry of Children and Family Development paid a visit to the family's trailer five days after Adam died his mother told the social worker Adam was staying somewhere in town.
There was no follow-up done and Adam's mother withdrew him from school and the family eventually moved to Oliver.
Then in 2004, after Cook starting dating another woman, Adam's mother went to the RCMP and reported his death. She told officers where his body was buried. A search was done of the area, and his remains, two femurs, were found.
While the remains were identified by DNA, there was very little physical evidence in this case, and because of the lack of evidence, and the time that had elapsed before Adam's body was found, investigators weren't able to determine how Adam died.
At the trial the judge said this the reason why he wasn't able to arrive at a guilty verdict for manslaughter.
Adam's mother Judy Williams pleaded guilty to interference with a dead body, and received two years house arrest.