Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Abducted boy, father caught in U.S. Friday

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FERNIE, B.C. -- A three-year-old British Columbia boy who was smuggled over the U.S. border spent a cold and hungry night in a stolen vehicle with his father in the tiny Montana town of Whitefish, police say.

Robert Barnett, 39, was charged Friday with abduction and theft after a provincewide manhunt sparked by an Amber Alert that was eventually also triggered in Montana.

RCMP in southeastern B.C. issued the alert for Barnett's son after they disappeared Thursday following a supervised visit. They were found 80 kilometres south of the border.

Undersheriff Dave Leib of Kalispell, Mont., said Friday the boy seemed untroubled.

"The boy was wonderful," he said. "He was healthy and seemed very happy when he was here, wandering around our office."

Within hours, he was returned to Canada.

Barnett has dual Canadian and U.S. citizenship but has said he's not interested in returning to Canada, officials said in the U.S.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 17, 2012 A26

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