Regina Leader-Post - - NP - Post­media News and The Cana­dian Press

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 in­ves­ti­gat­ing 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 things didn’t seem to be go­ing too well at the day­care dur­ing the sum­mer. They said some par­ents had re­moved their chil­dren from the home-based day­care be­cause of ar­gu­ments be­tween the cou­ple.

A neigh­bour said the cou­ple would have loud ar­gu­ments. The neigh­bour said that al­though the cou­ple had been sep­a­rated, Fre­dette would go to the house of­ten to cut the grass and take out the garbage.

Alexan­dre Marceau says he’s shocked at what hap­pened just next door. “I just hope Louka is safe,” he said be­fore the boy was found.

He de­scribed Louka as a boy who was al­ways full of en­ergy and al­ways smil­ing. He said he would see Barbe every morn­ing as he left for work as she was bring­ing her kids to the bus stop for school.

An­other area res­i­dent, who would only give his first name, An­dré, said he met the man a few years ago and knew he was work­ing on a doc­u­men­tary about the Cé­drika Provencher ab­duc­tion and killing.

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