Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Arrest like a 'Top Cops' show

U.S. man charged in alleged kidnapping

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Brandy Turner holds her son Luke during their reunion back in March. She could have her little boys in her arms again today.


Brandy Turner holds her son Luke during their reunion back in March. She could have her little boys in her arms again today.

BRANDON -- The manager of a Brandon hotel where a U.S. man accused of kidnapping his three-year-old son was staying says the arrest happened so quickly he doesn't think the man "even had a chance to blink."

Bernie Hiebert, who runs the Casablanca Motor Inn, said local police swooped down on the hotel Sunday afternoon after the suspect's use of a credit card to check in apparently gave away his location.

"In a split second, there were five or six... (police) cars that rushed into the yard," Hiebert recalled Monday. "Everything was like a 30-second Top Cops show. They went to the door and the gentleman came out and they handcuffed him."

The alleged abduction occurred Saturday when, police say, a man broke into his estranged wife's home in Longmont, Colo., blasted her with a stun gun and pepper spray and kidnapped three-year-old Luke Turner.

Prosecutors in the state of Colorado were working Monday to take custody of Monty Ray Turner, 51, who was being held on numerous charges, including kidnapping. A court order prohibits the father from contacting his wife and son.

Authorities said the child was unharmed and they were making arrangements to return him to his mother, Brandy Turner.

She said the boy was looking forward to coming home.

SSLqI thought he would go to Mexico. But he has relatives in Canada, too. He loves Alaska'

-- Brandy Turner

"He was very excited to talk to me," Brandy Turner said, recounting a Sunday phone conversation with Luke.

Luke is staying with a foster family in Brandon and likely will return home to his mother by today. The reunion will likely occur on the U.S. side, possibly Minot, N.D., which is just three hours south of Brandon, because the boy's mom has no passport.

Meanwhile, the hotel manager in Brandon said he was totally unsuspecting of the man and boy who checked into the Casablanca. Hiebert said he and the father exchanged chit-chat, and he advised them on where to get a bite to eat.

"(There was) nothing suspicious or unusual in any way, shape or form," he said. "I couldn't believe it after I got the call from the Colorado police asking for all the information on this gentleman."

Hiebert, who was contacted twice by Longmont police beforehand to determine whether the suspect was at the hotel, said authorities must have been able to track the man's location because he used a credit card to check in.

"It's pretty hard not to track that," Hiebert said. "If he would have paid cash, it would have been different."

Police have not officially said how they found the accused.

This is not the first time Turner has had her son taken away and then returned to her, the Denver Post reported.

In June 2012, it's alleged her estranged husband took Luke on an authorized camping for three days, but the two vanished for nine months.

At the time, both parents had custody so it was difficult to get officials to take action, she said.

"I didn't know whether I would ever see him again," Turner, 38, said. She didn't know Luke's whereabouts until this past March when the man and his son were found hiding at the child's paternal grandparents' home in Washington County.

Turner obtained sole custody of her son after that ordeal.

But when Luke was kidnapped Saturday, the reaction by officials was dramatically different. A nationwide Amber Alert was issued within hours, the Post reported.

"I thought he would go to Mexico," Turner told Denver media. "But he has relatives in Canada, too. He loves Alaska."

The Canadian Border Services Agency said it was reviewing how Monty Turner was able to get into the country with his son.

Hiebert said the man and boy arrived in a red-coloured truck with Missouri licence plates, although the man had a Colorado driver's licence. He said both looked tired, but the boy appeared to be fine.

"He was happy. He smiled. He walked outside the door at one point when his dad went to get something from the truck and... said, 'That's my dad.' "

That's why the swiftness of the arrest caught Hiebert, who likes to watch cop shows on TV, off guard.

"It was something like making a movie to me. I didn't really know what was going on at first."

The boy's grandfather, Ronald Turner, 72, was pulled over in Missouri on Sunday on a warrant for second-degree kidnapping. He was driving a vehicle with a licence plate number listed on an Amber Alert that had been issued after Luke was taken.

Sgt. Bill Lowe of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the grandfather was alone when he was pulled over and was in custody.


-- The Canadian Press, with files from The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 28, 2013 A3


Updated on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 6:25 AM CDT: replaces photos

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