Abducted boy found safe after Amber Alert
MONTREAL • Nearly 24 hours after he was reported abducted from his home in the Montreal suburb of StEustache, Que., triggering one of the longest Amber Alerts in Canadian history and a search that spanned two provinces, six-year-old Louka Fredette was found safe Friday evening in rural Ontario.
His father, Ugo Fredette, was arrested by Ontario Provincial Police after officers laid down a nail strip to disable the car he had stolen, on Highway 41 in Griffith, Ont., a hamlet in a heavily wooded area about 115 kilometres west of Ottawa, and 315 km from Montreal.
“We had an end that everyone hoped for,” Sûreté du Québec spokeswoman Martine Asselin told reporters moments after the child was found. “Young Louka was found safe and sound by the (Ontario Provincial Police).
“( Ugo Fredette) was arrested. It’s great news for everyone. The work of media, police and citizens, we thank you all very much.”
Carolle Dionne, spokeswoman for Ontario’s provincial police, said officers on the ground aided by a helicopter were able to stop the vehicle.
Dionne confirmed Louka was in the car but couldn’t say where his father was arrested or if he resisted. Media reports stated police tasered Ugo Fredette to apprehend him.
“The OPP will continue the investigation and we are working in conjunction with the (Quebec provincial police).”
The operation continues, however. The Sûreté du Québec said it is now asking the public’s help to find 71-yearold Yvan Lacasse, who was driving the car Fredette stole in order to flee to Ontario.
Police did not release details about Lacasse earlier for fear of prompting a hostage situation.
Ugo Fredette is suspected of killing Louka’s mother, Véronique Barbe, Thursday afternoon in St- Eustache, then abducting their son, Louka, and fleeing. Neighbours and family members said the two had separated recently and argued frequently.
Police found Barbe’s body at her home, then discovered Louka was missing, triggering the Amber Alert at 7:25 p.m. Thursday.
A white Ford pickup believed to have been used in the abduction of the boy had been found abandoned near a service station in Lachute.
Police combed a wooded area of Lachute on Friday morning for clues to the whereabouts of Louka.
Police technicians and a mobile lab were investigat- ing the crime scene at Barbe’s house in St- Eustache. Ugo Fredette’s Facebook page said he was in a relationship with Barbe. Her page shows pictures of her with four children, including Louka, and with Fredette. Reports said only Louka was Fredette’s child.
A sign in front of the house advertised a home daycare in the quiet neighbourhood. Some neighbours who knew her said some parents had recently removed their children from the home-based daycare because of arguments between the couple.