Woman who triggered 2020 Amber Alert pleads guilty to kidnapping charges

The mother pleaded guilty to two counts of removing “a person under the age of 16 from the possession and against the will of that person’s parent or guardian”.

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A woman from a town north of Montreal who triggered an Amber Alert in 2020 after she disappeared with her two young daughters when they were supposed to be in their father’s care pleaded guilty to kidnapping charges on Friday.

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Superior Court Judge France Charbonneau said the case was resolved through a process of facilitation – in which lawyers present arguments before a judge behind closed doors – before she agreed to convict the woman on parole.

The woman, who is now 35, will be left without a criminal record if she does not breach a series of conditions imposed on her by the court within the next 12 months.

The mother is not allowed to take drugs unless they are prescribed, and she is required to follow any prescription to the letter. She is also required to continue to consult a psychologist and must respect all the conditions imposed by the youth protection services.

The woman’s name cannot be given due to a publication ban designed to protect the identity of her daughters.

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On December 13, 2020, the Sûreté du Québec issued an Amber Alert after the woman with the girls disappeared. The alert was canceled later the same day when the girls were found unharmed. They were two and seven at the time.

The mother ended up facing six counts in the Laval courthouse, but only pleaded guilty to two counts of removing “a person under the age of 16 from the possession and against the will of that person’s parent or guardian.

Charbonneau agreed to stay proceedings on the four kidnapping charges the woman was facing.

Reading her decision, Charbonneau said a woman caring for the girls on Dec. 13, 2020, called 911 around 7 a.m. and told police their mother put them in an SUV and was part.

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Later that day, the mother met at her grandfather’s house and “made comments that worried him”. A series of phone calls were made and the girls’ father showed up just as the mother was leaving her grandfather’s house with her two daughters.

The judge also said the mother was prescribed an antidepressant earlier in 2020 but was “self-medicating” when she committed the crimes. His relatives were already concerned about his behavior before the girls were abducted.

A few hours later, at 6:23 p.m., a woman from St-Faustin—Lac-Carré, a town more than 110 kilometers north of the town where the tragedy began, called 911. She reported that she was arrived home and found the mother on her property in distress and asking someone to protect her daughters.

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The mother was arrested minutes later and police found $4,000 in cash in a recycling bin on the St-Faustin—Lac-Carré property. The mother admitted that she hid the money in the trash can. Lawyers in the case told Charbonneau that the question of who owns the money is currently being debated in divorce proceedings.

Following her arrest, the mother was detained at the Philippe Pinel Institute for three months while she underwent a mental health assessment. She was released on March 26, 2021.

Charbonneau said the mother’s condition has since improved and the parents currently share custody of the girls.

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