Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Maryk, kids were rarely seen, neighbours say

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GUADALAJARA, Mex. -- The home where two Winnipeg kids were allegedly held captive by their father was the perfect hideaway: a quiet, secretive compound in the rural outskirts of Guadalajara, Mexico's second biggest city.

Kevin Maryk was allegedly holding Dominic, 11, and Abby, 9, in Jardines de las Fuentes, one of several gated communities just off the highway from Guadalajara to Tesistan.

Maryk's friend Robert Neil Groen also lived on the property. They were clearly careful not to court attention, neighbours said.

Several residents who lived there for years had never seen the pair and none of the staff working in the nearest convenience store recognized photos of them.

"Everyone thought it was strange that the kids didn't go to school," said one neighbour who saw them regularly. "They would only leave with the kids very late at night and return early in the morning."

Mexico's gated communities are quiet places for "introverted" people who value their privacy, another resident said. In a country notorious for its problems with organized crime, such places can attract somewhat shady residents.

"Sometimes things happen here that shouldn't happen," a local security guard said. Security staff are encouraged "not to make friends" with the local residents, he said.

But he often saw Dominic and Abby playing in the adventure park in front of their home.

"They were calm and normal. They didn't look at all unhappy or unwell," the guard said.

Tucked away in this remote location, Maryk and Groen converted the house into something of a fortress. They kept dogs and installed security cameras above the door.

The perimeter walls were lined with razor wire, although the guard noted this is hardly uncommon in an area where residents value their security as highly as their privacy.

Police reportedly found firearms, grenades, drugs and child pornography at the property, 117 Privada de Poseidon.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 29, 2012 A3

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