'Get in the house!': Ontario couple relives Amber Alert arrest

Barb Friske was washing dishes in the kitchen of her Dacre, Ont., home Friday afternoon when a loud noise told her something had gone wrong.

Ugo Fredette taken into custody Friday outside Barb and John Friske's home

Barb and John Friske of Dacre, Ont., stand next to a flower bush they say Ugo Fredette ran over with an allegedly stolen SUV as he fled police during an Amber Alert investigation on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Barb Friske was washing dishes in the kitchen of her Dacre, Ont., home Friday afternoon when a loud noise told her something had gone wrong.

"I said to my husband, 'Oh my gosh, it sounds like somebody coming in the yard with a flat tire," Friske said.

"So we started out of the house to see if whoever was in the vehicle needed help. [By the] time we walked out the back door, the police helicopter was over the house."

For nearly 24 hours, police had been scouring both the roads and the skies for Ugo Fredette, a Quebec man wanted after a six-year-old boy disappeared from Saint-Eustache, Que., just west of Montreal.

They had issued an Amber Alert late on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 14, when Véronique Barbe was found dead at a home in the city.

Fredette's white pickup truck was found the next morning near Lachute, Que., which is where it's believed Fredette commandeered a dark grey Honda SUV that belonged to 71-year-old Yvon Lacasse.

Barbe's death is being considered a homicide, police have said. As of 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Lacasse was still missing.

'Get in the house'

Ontario Provincial Police said they were able to disable the Honda at around 5 p.m. on Friday near Dacre — nearly 300 kilometres west of Saint-Eustache — using a spike belt. They then arrested Fredette following a short foot chase.

Police are now looking for Yvon Lacasse, 71, who is connected to a Honda CRV that Ugo Fredette was driving at the time of his arrest. (Sûreté du Québec )

Standing next to the still-visible tire marks Sunday afternoon, Friske told CBC News how police officers swiftly descended on the family's home along Highway 132, searching for the wanted man.

"They had guns, and they were yelling at us to get in, get in, get in the house," Friske said.

Friske and her husband John retreated into their home as officers approached the vehicle, which had barrelled through a flower bush and come to rest against a stone fence.

"There was nobody, I guess, in the vehicle at the time. So they came back up this way, and they were looking [for the man and the boy]," she said.

"And I said to the officer — I says, 'The garage is open. Maybe you'd like to look in there.'"

John Friske stands next to the tire marks left by a truck that careened off Highway 132 and ended up striking an outdoor wall on their property near Dacre, Ont. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

The couple watched from their bedroom window as officers began to search around the garage.

Suddenly, John Friske spotted the man near the garden.

"The cops come into the backyard looking and I see him come out [from near] the fence," he said. "And I said, 'There he is!' So they run over [to get] a hold of him, and tell him to get down. And he wouldn't get down."

When the man refused to let the boy go, an officer shot him with a stun gun, the Friskes said. Police then handcuffed him and took him into custody.

As two officers whisked the boy to safety, Barb Friske said she offered him a treat.

"When I'd seen the police officers come, I [asked] 'Is he all right? Can I give him a Freezie?' And she said yeah," said Friske. "He was definitely crying. He was upset."

The arrest involved two police helicopters and about 15 officers, Friske said. It was over in less than 10 minutes.

Barb Friske points to a small pink flag marking the spot where she says police subdued and arrested Fredette. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

'Don't hurt the kid'

The boy was transported back to Quebec that night, where he was placed under the care of provincial youth protection services.

Just about makes you cry, because you're thinking, oh my God, don't kill [the boy].- Barb Friske

Fredette appeared at a bail hearing in Ontario by video on Saturday, where he was released into the custody of the Sûreté du Québec to answer charges in that province first. (As of Sunday afternoon, no charges had been made public.)

The Ontario Provincial Police said Fredette was later taken to an Ontario hospital after suffering injuries while in custody. Ontario's Special Investigations Unit — which has a mandate to investigate interactions between police and civilians that result in serious injury, death or allegations of sexual assault — later said it would not be investigating the matter.

On Sunday, the lone remaining sign of a police investigation at the Friskes' property was a single pink flag marking the spot where they said Fredette was arrested.

Barb Friske said she wouldn't be forgetting the high stakes takedown any time soon.

"Just about makes you cry, because you're thinking, oh my God, don't kill [the boy]. You know, do what you want yourself, but don't hurt the kid. I close my eyes when I go to bed and that's all I see."

"But I'm all right now. Because I know he's safe."

About the Author

Trevor Pritchard

CBC reporter

Trevor Pritchard is a reporter and associate producer at CBC Ottawa. He has previously reported in Toronto, Saskatoon and Cornwall, Ont.

With files from CBC Montreal