Amber Alert chase ends near Dacre
Missing six-year-old boy found alive, police arrest his father after stopping car with nail strip
Nearly 24 hours after he was reported abducted from his home in St-Eustache, triggering one of the longest Amber Alerts in Canadian history and a search that spanned two provinces, 6-year-old Louka Fredette was found safe late Friday afternoon in Ontario.
His father, Ugo Fredette, was arrested by Ontario Provincial Police after officers laid down a nail strip to disable the car he was driving, on Highway 132 near Griffith, Ont., about 80 kilometres south of Pembroke. Media reports stated police Tasered Ugo Fredette to apprehend him.
The operation continues, however. The Sûreté du Québec said it is now asking the public’s help to find 71-year-old Yvan Lacasse, who was driving the car Fredette stole in order to flee to Ontario, possibly from Lachute.
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, north of Montreal, 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 be have been used in the abduction of the boy had been found abandoned near a service station in Lachute, Que.
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 and the man would often just leave. 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.
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.
Fredette worked on a documentary about Cedrika Provencher, who was nine years old when she disappeared from her home in Trois-Rivieres 10 years ago. Her remains were found in a wooded area in December 2015.
Her grandfather, Henri Provencher, who runs the Cedrika Provencher Foundation, posted an appeal on Facebook earlier, urging Fredette to turn over his son to police.
“I appeal to your father’s heart, do not commit the irremediable,” Provencher said. “Thank you for acting as a responsible father Ugo. Think of your child.”
Lt. Jason Allard told reporters at a press briefing earlier Friday “we’re using every means we can (locally) to find them. That includes helicopters, that includes tracking dogs and even divers.”
Reports said a cellphone believed to belong to Fredette was found in Montreal.
In Val D’Or, Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said everything was being done by police to find the child.
Scene of an Amber Alert arrest on Highway 132, just west of Dacre, Ont.
The suspect vehicle was cornered on the front yard of a rural home on the north side of Highway 132.
Louka Fredette / Ugo Fredette