Husband arrested in connection with B.C. woman's disappearance in Peru

Kimberlee Kasatkin's common-law husband has been arrested in connection with her disappearance.

41-year-old Kimberlee Kasatkin's case now being treated under Peruvian law as 'femicide'

Kimberlee Kasatkin, 41, was last heard from on November 26, 2016. (Emma May Garland/Facebook)

Peruvian police have arrested Christopher Franz, the common-law husband of Kimberlee Kasatkin, who has been missing in Peru since November.

Franz, a Peruvian citizen, was initially detained for 72 hours in connection to Kasatkin's disappearance.

His detention has now been extended by four days as police search his property, though no charges have been laid. 

Kasatkin, originally from Abbotsford, had been living in Lima with Franz and their two children — a three-year-old daughter and six-year-old son — for more than three years.

Kasatkin was last heard from on November 26, 2016, when she spoke to her sisters via video call.  

Her brother, Roger Grafstrom, said that at the time of her disappearance, Franz told Peruvian police she had left the home voluntary. 

The case is now being treated as a femicide — defined as the murder of a woman under Peruvian law. 

Kimberlee Kasatkin and her common-law husband, Christopher Franz, had been living together in Lima for over three years. (Handout from Abbotsford Police Department)

Family assisted with investigation

Grafstrom said that because the disappearance was not initially classified as a missing person case, it was not thoroughly investigated.

"With so many people going missing in Peru, police just don't look into it," he said. "We were told if we hadn't gone down there, nothing would have ever happened."

Frustrated by the language barrier and the lack of answers, Kasatkin's family traveled to Peru in January to advocate for their daughter's case and assist with the investigation. Upon arrival, they also hired a Peruvian lawyer.

Grafstrom said his parents watched "endless" hours of video surveillance.

"It's been a long, arduous process."

He said the Peruvian police handling the case have been "fantastic," working long hours with few resources. 

"They don't have computers at the police station, so officers have been bringing their own laptops in to help," he said. 

Interpol and the Abbotsford Police Department have also assisted with the case.

In January, Const. Ian MacDonald told CBC News that Kasatkin was a "very well known individual in the Fraser Valley," who regularly returned to Canada to visit and stay in touch with friends.

Grafstrom said the process has put enormous strain on his family. 

"It's been very difficult in so many aspects. I talk to my parents daily. I can visually see the toll it's taken on them."

His family is now advocating for the couple's two children, now staying with Franz's mother, be returned to Canada. 

"We want them back. We don't think it's a safe environment for them," he said.