Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Abductor Told Police He Initially Planned to Take Victim's Brother: Court

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Abductor Told Police He Initially Planned to Take Victim's Brother: Court

Article excerpt

Sentencing hearing for B.C. abductor

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CRANBROOK, B.C. - The man who abducted a three-year-old British Columbia boy before returning him unharmed four days later had initially considered taking the child's older brother, his sentencing hearing was told Wednesday.

Randall Hopley, 46, has already pleaded guilty to abducting three-year-old Kienan Hebert from the boy's home in Sparwood, a southeastern B.C. town not far from the Alberta boundary, last September. The boy was returned unharmed and Hopley was later arrested at a nearby Bible camp.

The Crown is considering asking that Hopley, who covered his face as he arrived at a courthouse in Cranbrook, B.C., be designated a dangerous or long-term offender.

After his arrest, Hopley told police he planned the abduction a couple of days in advance. He said he chose the Hebert home because the door was unlocked, it was in a remote new neighbourhood, and "it was easy to tell" there were children inside because of the number of toys outside.

He originally walked into the home at 1:30 a.m. into a room shared by Kienan and his six-year-old brother, Caleb, who has had three heart surgeries. He saw a photo of Caleb with a note written underneath that referenced the surgery.

"I thought, 'No. If I do grab him, the kid could get startled and have a heart attack,'" Hopley told a police officer in a videotaped confession, which was played in court.

"You could end up with a dying child, a dead child. So I went out for an hour's walk and later came back and took Kienan out."

Hopley said he was worried that he might have grabbed the wrong child, so he checked Kienan's chest for heart surgery scars.

"When I grabbed Kienan, I basically bolted with him," said Hopley during the six-hour interview.

"He was so heavy, he was like a brick. It wore me out in less than half a block and then he started crying that his feet were cold."

Hopley, who turns 47 next week, sat in court Wednesday wearing grey jogging pants and a golf shirt that was striped red, charcoal, light grey and white. His feet were shackled and he looked down during most of the hearing.

The court heard it was Hopley's desire to apologize that led police to him. He turned to Facebook to post an apology, allowing police to use his IP address to trace his location to the Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp. Crown counsel Lynal Doerksen read some of those postings in court.

"I would like to say sorry, sorry, sorry to Paul Hebert and wife," said one post, referring to the boy's parents.

"I did this out of protest to the RCMP, Judge Webb and my lawyer," he said, referring to an earlier conviction in 2007, when he was accused of attempting to remove a 10-year old boy from his home.

"He asked to go home Friday night. He kept my spirits up. He was always playing ... always laughing and smiling. ... I did not harm him in any way possible. …

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