A man who snatched and murdered a five-year-old Calgary girl on her way to kindergarten in 1980 has been granted day parole.
Harold David Smeltzer, 52, will be heading to a halfway house in Regina following a hearing Wednesday before the National Parole Board in Prince Albert, Sask.
"It's devastating, because I don't believe he should be out on the streets. He is an animal," Evelyn Thompson told CBC News in a tearful interview.
"I don't believe he will ever be helped. I don't care how much counselling he gets."
Smeltzer kidnapped Thompson's daughter Kimberley on her way to kindergarten in the southwest neighbourhood of Altadore. He drowned the little girl in his parents' bathtub and stuffed her body into a garbage can.
After his arrest, he also admitted to other attacks in the area. His victims included three girls — aged 10, 11 and 17 — as well as two 27-year-old women.
Smeltzer was convicted of first-degree murder, rape and attempted rape. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Smeltzer was eligible for parole in 2005, but didn't apply. Under the conditions of his release, he can't have contact with anyone under 18 and must continue programs and counselling he undertook while incarcerated. After six months, his day parole will be reviewed again.
The board did look at risk factors, including the nature of his offences, and required a plan for his release and reintegration into community, said spokeswoman Arti Jolly.
'I want life to mean life'
Thompson, who now lives in B.C,. was in Prince Albert for the hearing with six of her family members. She said Smeltzer had his back to her during the hearing.
"I could have strangled him. It went through my mind, the thought. I am not going to lie, because it did. But I am a better person than that."
Thompson said she was disgusted by the decision.
"I want life to mean life. I don't want it to mean you can kill somebody and get out … they know they can get out," she said.
Thompson, who doesn't think she will now ever have closure, said she can only remember Kimberley's beauty and loving spirit.
"She's my baby," she said. "I think about her every day."