He ignored a court order, abducted his children from their mother and spent four years on the run in a foreign country before finally being arrested.
But Kevin Maryk still plans to return to Mexico upon his release from prison -- and believes his kids will one day rejoin him to continue the life they began together.
The bizarre prediction emerged Monday as a sentencing hearing began for Maryk, who has admitted to one of Manitoba's most notorious missing persons cases.
The Crown is seeking a five-year prison sentence, which is half the maximum 10-year sentence allowed by law on the charge of abduction. Maryk is asking for time served in custody and an immediate return to the community. A date for possibly further legal argument and a verdict will be set next week.
Dominic Maryk, now 13, and Abby Maryk, now 11, vanished while on a court-authorized visitation with their father in August 2008. They wouldn't be located until May 2012 in Guadalajara.
'I don't know what he will do. He's so unpredictable and really doesn't care about the law'
Crown attorney Debbie Buors told court the two victims were kept in deplorable conditions.
They spoke of being given "tequila wine," partying with young Mexican girls who worked in the sex-trade and being exposed to criminal activity while being taught by Maryk police are "corrupt and can be paid off."
But defence lawyer Todd Bourcier presented a much different story, saying Maryk fled with his children in order to give them a better life. He believed their mother, Emily Cablek, was exposing them to risk through her own high-risk lifestyle which included prior drug use and sex-trade work. The court clearly disagreed, having awarded Cablek full custody weeks before the abduction.
"Mr. Maryk had a genuine concern the children weren't going to be properly cared for. It was Mr. Maryk's view this was not a good place, not a safe place, for the children," said Bourcier. "This is not the terrifying monster the Crown is painting him out to be. He's a father who made a bad mistake."
Bourcier claims his client is full of remorse, but the Crown questioned how genuine that was. At one point Monday, Buors jumped up and accused Maryk of "smirking" towards the public gallery as Bourcier spoke about Cablek's alleged bad character.
Bourcier quickly spoke with his client and apologized, saying he was simply taking a sip of water.
'Mr. Maryk had a genuine concern the children weren't going to be properly cared for'
"He didn't intend to be smirking and apologizes if that was the impression given," said Bourcier.
Since his arrest, Maryk has been caught writing letters to family members and friends in which he speaks about having money hidden away and plans to eventually return to Mexico with his children. He even encourages friends to spy on the children while he is locked up.
"Find them so I know where they are," he wrote in one seized prison letter, which was read aloud in court by the Crown on Monday. In another he suggests using a telescope to spy on the children while scoping out Winnipeg schools they may be attending.
Bourcier says there is no plot in place for a future kidnapping. Rather, Maryk plans to return to Mexico once legally able to do so and hopes his children will eventually join them when they are able to make their own decisions.
Cablek was in court for Monday's hearing. She presented a victim-impact statement in the form of a videotaped interview she did with police. Cablek described her fear Maryk will strike again.
"I don't know what he will do. He's so unpredictable and really doesn't care about the law," she said.
Cablek also described the emotional trauma both she and her children have suffered, including how difficult it has been to adjust to getting them back. Both children were denied education, medical and dental care or even friends while living under bogus identities in Mexico, repeatedly moving and being kept in homes surrounded by barbed wire and guard dogs, the Crown stated.
Maryk's lawyer took issue with some of the Crown's version of the facts, saying it wasn't as grim as it wants the judge to believe.
"Mr. Maryk was doing his best in what was a difficult situation," said Bourcier. "These kids were not kept prisoners in the home."
Another accused was previously sentenced. Robert Groen, 43, pleaded guilty earlier this month to abduction for his role in the case. He was given one year in jail. The Crown had asked for four years.
Groen is a longtime neighbour, friend and business partner of Kevin Maryk. He was asked to help in a kidnapping plot in the summer of 2008, shortly after the Court of Queen's Bench awarded full custody to Cablek. Maryk was only to be allowed scheduled supervision, which angered him.
Maryk fled with the kids to Mexico and was joined by his nephew, Cody McKay. Groen stayed behind in Winnipeg but played a vital part in the conspiracy. McKay, 24, is wanted on a warrant but has evaded arrest. He is believed to still be hiding in Mexico.