August 18, 2018

Winnipeg
32° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Inside the horror

Nearly 12 years after he was rescued from a Prairie farmhouse where he was held captive and raped by a notorious pedophile, a Winnipeg man speaks publicly for the first time about the traumatic ordeal and his troubled life since the abuse

We take you back in time, a dozen years nearly to the day.

RCMP have surrounded a rural Saskatchewan farmhouse near Kipling, where a notorious convicted pedophile from Ontario is holed up inside with two young boys he’s kidnapped and repeatedly raped after several days on the run.

The first Amber Alert in provincial history has paid off, with a tipster spotting Peter Whitmore’s vehicle. And the two random victims, a 10-year-old from Whitewood, Sask., and a 14-year-old from Winnipeg, are alive.

After nine hours of negotiations throughout the night, Whitmore surrenders. The boys are rescued and reunited with their families who feared they might never see them again.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 60 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 60 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 60 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We take you back in time, a dozen years nearly to the day.

RCMP have surrounded a rural Saskatchewan farmhouse near Kipling, where a notorious convicted pedophile from Ontario is holed up inside with two young boys he’s kidnapped and repeatedly raped after several days on the run.

The first Amber Alert in provincial history has paid off, with a tipster spotting Peter Whitmore’s vehicle. And the two random victims, a 10-year-old from Whitewood, Sask., and a 14-year-old from Winnipeg, are alive.

After nine hours of negotiations throughout the night, Whitmore surrenders. The boys are rescued and reunited with their families who feared they might never see them again.

RCMP unload a robot to deliver a phone to Whitmore on Tuesday August 1, 2006. Police established phone contact with Whitmore to negotiate with him. (Troy Fleece / The Canadian Press files)

RCMP unload a robot to deliver a phone to Whitmore on Tuesday August 1, 2006. Police established phone contact with Whitmore to negotiate with him. (Troy Fleece / The Canadian Press files)

A community, a province, and a country are relieved.

Of course, much damage has been done to the two boys. There’s no telling just how deep the emotional scars run. Whitmore is a seasoned pro, a master manipulator with sex-related convictions involving nearly a dozen children dating back years.

Sex offender Peter Whitmore leaves court in Regina in July 2007, after pleading guilty to abducting and sexually assaulting a Saskatchewan boy and a Manitoba teenager. (Troy Fleece / The Canadian Press files)</p>

Sex offender Peter Whitmore leaves court in Regina in July 2007, after pleading guilty to abducting and sexually assaulting a Saskatchewan boy and a Manitoba teenager. (Troy Fleece / The Canadian Press files)

The convoluted way he pulled off his latest crime leaves some in Saskatchewan pointing fingers of blame towards the Winnipeg boy, believing he could have stopped the spree before it claimed a second victim.

Whitmore, now 47, is given a life sentence as part of a controversial plea bargain in which a dangerous-offender application is dropped. Despite being eligible for apply for parole, he has yet to do so.

"Peter is in Ontario and I speak to him from time to time. For now, he is content with the status quo. In other words, he does not expect to be transferred in the foreseeable future, and he is OK with that for now," his longtime lawyer, Daniel Brodsky, told the Free Press this week.

"The community on the outside has not been a hospitable place for him. He is resigned to that fact and lives his life one day at a time."

The Saskatchewan boy and his family went to court a few years ago to have the publication ban on their name lifted so they could put a face to their story.

Zachary Miller is now 22 years old. He and his parents, Lyle and Pam, have spoken out against the way the criminal justice system deals with repeat sex offenders such as Whitmore.

Their case has been documented in a true-crime book, documentary, numerous media interviews, public speaking events and other projects.

Meanwhile, the Winnipeg victim and his family, remained anonymous.

Now, at age 26, he has decided to speak out.


MILNER RIDGE CORRECTIONAL CENTRE – He tries not to think too much about his past these days, even though it can be all-consuming at times.

It’s tough to run from your thoughts when you’re locked up 24 hours a day, as he has been for the past two years.

"I know I’m still f——d up. I’m never really happy," the Winnipeg man told the Free Press during a lengthy jailhouse interview earlier this summer.

Milner Ridge Correctional Centre (Government of Manitoba)

Milner Ridge Correctional Centre (Government of Manitoba)

Although he has no problem with his name being published, a court-ordered ban has not been lifted.

He is close to completing a prison term imposed after the armed robbery of a city convenience store, in which he used a sawed-off shotgun to make off with cash and cigarettes while trying to fuel his drug addiction.

Police caught him easily, thanks to a GPS tracker the clerk threw into the bag of loot the man took to his girlfriend’s house.

"I thought I was all good. All of a sudden the sirens were getting closer and closer. The police were all around the house," he says. "It was a stupid idea."

He’s to be released in late August on his first adult conviction but isn’t sure what’s waiting for him.

"I’m used to it here. This is life for me now. I really don’t know where I’m going to go," the man says.

"Every time I’m happy I feel like I’ve got to move on. I feel like that won’t last. I don’t feel like getting too close to people."

“Every time I’m happy I feel like I’ve got to move on. I feel like that won’t last. I don’t feel like getting too close to people.”

His two young daughters live with their mother in New Brunswick. He barely knows them. He’s spoken with the four- and five-year-olds on the phone a few times, but they don’t know he’s their father. They call him by his first name.

"She’s going to let me come and see them when I get out," he says.

He’s also got a family that continues to deal with dysfunction, the result of prolonged domestic abuse along with substance addictions, not to mention the continued fallout from what happened a dozen summers ago.

The man's stepdad, after all, had befriended Whitmore as they worked together on highway construction. He allowed the pleasant stranger into their home for a meal and graciously accepted Whitmore’s gifts of groceries. He gave the pedophile the opportunity to pounce on his stepson.

"I never want to see that guy again," he says of his stepdad.

They crossed paths on a Winnipeg Transit bus a few years ago, and he said he assaulted the man.

Whitmore told the Winnipeg teen his stepfather had paid for Whitmore to take him away. (RCMP Handout)

CP

Whitmore told the Winnipeg teen his stepfather had paid for Whitmore to take him away. (RCMP Handout)

All those years ago, Whitmore grabbed the Winnipeg boy and ran off, telling him he was ex-military who had his family under constant surveillance and would kill them all if he told anyone about what was happening.

He also told the teen his stepdad had "paid him" to take him away. He was armed with a knife and a fake handgun.

They stayed in campgrounds as they headed west. Whitmore showed him child pornography and repeatedly molested him.

When they got to Saskatchewan a few days later, they came across the Miller family and Whitmore had his next target. He approached under the guise of wanting to buy fresh eggs from their farm. But he was really laying a trap, presenting a bogus story of how they were new to the area following his wife's recent death from cancer.

The house of 10-year-old Zachary Miller is seen in July 2006, as police were frantically searching for the two missing boys. Whitmore approached under the guise of wanting to buy fresh eggs from their farm. But he was really laying a trap, presenting a bogus story of how they were new to the area following his wife's recent death from cancer. (Troy Fleece / The Canadian Press files)

The house of 10-year-old Zachary Miller is seen in July 2006, as police were frantically searching for the two missing boys. Whitmore approached under the guise of wanting to buy fresh eggs from their farm. But he was really laying a trap, presenting a bogus story of how they were new to the area following his wife's recent death from cancer. (Troy Fleece / The Canadian Press files)

Whitmore passed off the Winnipeg boy as his nephew, and the terrified victim didn’t say otherwise even when briefly left alone in the Miller home. It is for this reason many in the community, including the Miller family, were initially angry with him for what happened to young Zachary.

"I don’t really blame them. I did have lots of chances. I was really f——d up in the head. I was scared for my family. I didn’t know what to believe," says the Winnipegger.

"He really f——d with my head lots, telling me my family was being watched. If I tried to leave, my family was done."

He was ordered to take Zachary on a bike ride to see a haunted house. Whitmore was waiting around the corner to grab them. Zachary was gagged with duct tape, tied up and wrapped in a blanket. The Winnipeg boy helped to restrain him.

He says as a father himself now, he understands why people might have been angry with him initially.

"I can’t really blame them. I think about my kids, and how I would have felt," he says.

Bedding inside a house that Peter Whitmore used near Kipling, Sask., is seen in a photo used as evidence in court. (Don Healy / Leader-Post)

Bedding inside a house that Peter Whitmore used near Kipling, Sask., is seen in a photo used as evidence in court. (Don Healy / Leader-Post)

Once they had Zachary, Whitmore escalated his sexual abuse while they were holed up in the abandoned farmhouse. He even forced the Winnipeg boy to participate in sexual acts on Zachary while feeding them both dog food, water and crackers.

"I tried talking to him, helping him through it a little bit. Peter told him my family didn’t care about me, that they sold me," he says.

"When we got found, Zach told me if your family doesn’t want you back, I can go there with his family."


After returning to regular life, he said, things were never the same.

He moved to Quebec to live in a First Nations community with family members, but the situation only got worse. He briefly underwent trauma counselling but began having suicidal thoughts.

He was arrested and jailed several times as a youth and got into repeated fights with band officers.

"I got given a lot of chances. Every week it seemed I was sitting in a holding cell," he says. "I think it was just a lot of emotional stuff that I never dealt with. Stuff come up that I had buried."

There were also two suicide attempts.

The first, at age 16, involved using a shirt to make a noose around his neck while in a holding cell. A guard "came by at the right time" to stop him.

At 17, he consumed a large quantity of Tylenol 3s and was found unconscious in his house by his girlfriend. He was rushed to the hospital to have his stomach pumped.

"If she didn’t show up, I probably would have died there," he says.

“Any problems that I have, I don’t like to blame them on a certain thing that happened to me.”

Despite his rocky life, the Winnipeg man tries not to play the blame game — even if there appears to be a ready-made excuse for him to jump on.

What person could could endure such abuse as a young teenager and not come out of it messed up?

"It sickens me. There’s nothing I can do about it now," he says. "But any problems that I have, I don’t like to blame them on a certain thing that happened to me."

He admits he’s thought about what he’d say to Whitmore if given a chance. Turns out, he’d let his actions do the talking.

"I wouldn’t want to speak to him. Being alone in a room with him, I wouldn’t mind that," he says.

"For a long time growing up, I was always thinking of getting myself thrown into a penitentiary in Saskatchewan and finding him. Getting a shank and stabbing him as much as I can."


Dr. Fred Shane, a criminal psychiatrist who has given expert testimony at hundreds of criminal cases in Canada, said it's not surprising this man's life has spiralled downward in the dozen years since he was victimized.

"Whatever course he was on, a trauma of this nature is profound and can be devastating in terms of one’s emotional growth and can precipitate significant problems such as an individual certainly becoming plagued by symptoms of the post traumatic stress disorder," Shane told the Free Press.

"For individuals who have been traumatized in this type of context, they are usually plagued by intermittent or ongoing recurring thoughts, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts about the trauma. It has a major impact upon, depending on the severity of the trauma, an individual’s behaviour. It may profoundly impact their ability to work, socialize, care, love, and obtain an education."

A CRIMINAL HISTORY

Twenty years of Peter Whitmore's troubling history of abduction and sexual offences.

Peter Whitmore is seen in an undated photo released after he was located in Mexico in 2000, when wanted on a warrant for breaching court orders. (The Canadian Press files)

Peter Whitmore is seen in an undated photo released after he was located in Mexico in 2000, when wanted on a warrant for breaching court orders. (The Canadian Press files)

1993: Peter Whitmore is convicted of abduction and five sexual offences involving four young boys in Toronto. He is sentenced to one year, four months in custody.

1995: Whitmore, who posed as a professional babysitter, is sentenced to five years in jail for sexual offences, including the abduction and confinement of an eight-year-old girl and sexual interference with a nine-year-old boy. He is banned from being close to children under age 14 for the rest of his life.

2000: Less than a month after his release, Whitmore is found in a downtown Toronto motel with a 13-year-old boy. He is sentenced to one year in jail for breaching a court order.

2002: A Toronto judge sentences Whitmore to three years in jail for probation violations because he fled to British Columbia after being found in the company of a five-year-old boy.

March 2004: A National Parole Board report notes clinicians believe Whitmore has a "100 per cent probability of recidivism."

June 16, 2005: Whitmore is released after serving his entire three-year sentence, and takes up residence in Chilliwack, B.C.

June 2, 2006: RCMP issue a news release saying Whitmore will be visiting the area of Morinville, Alta., for a few days.

June 15, 2006: After returning to British Columbia for a brief time, Whitmore comes back to Morinville. He willingly tells police he's back. RCMP set a court date so Whitmore can legally extend his stay, but he never shows up.

Early July 2006: Whitmore surfaces in Newfoundland and Labrador, where he is renting a property, and tells neighbours he has two sons back home in B.C. he plans to go get and return with.

July 22, 2006: Whitmore is in Winnipeg, where he randomly befriends a 14-year-old boy through the man's stepfather, who he meets on a roadside construction site. He abducts the teen and heads west.

July 30, 2006: RCMP issue an Amber Alert for a 10-year-old Saskatchewan boy believed to have been abducted by Whitmore.

Aug. 1, 2006: A vehicle matching the description of the one Whitmore was driving is spotted near Kipling, Sask., by a local farmer. When RCMP arrive, the 10-year-old boy runs out of some brush on the property. Whitmore surrenders after a nearly 10-hour standoff with police, freeing the 14-year-old boy.

Aug. 3, 2006: Whitmore appears in Regina court, charged with numerous crimes including kidnapping, sexual assault causing bodily harm, threats, weapons and child pornography offences.

July 23, 2007: Whitmore pleads guilty to his crimes and is given a life sentence with no chance of parole for at least seven years from his date of arrest.

Aug. 1, 2013: Whitmore becomes eligible to apply for parole. He has yet to do so.

— Mike McIntyre

Shane, who has worked with survivors of concentration camps, residential schools and war veterans, says this young man would share many traits of their trauma.

"His ability to survive in the community will be a reflection of his vulnerability to stresses, to the presence of drugs, the impact of his PTSD symptoms and his resilience. Resilience is very important in terms of people being able to cope after experiencing significant traumas.

"Rape victims have their own specific issues with which they have to deal. There are many who cope with their lives and are able to tolerate the dysfunctional mental experience and connect with others in a loving way and sustain stable functioning in the community," said Shane.

"The odds against this young man being able to cope in the future are of the nature that he will probably remain at risk for significant psychological dysfunction. Having said this, he is young. It is very important he obtain appropriate psychological support to help him cope with his symptoms and help him deal with any depression, suicidal issues, potential drug abuse and dealing with any antisocial behaviour.

"He has a history of all of these issues and as well his family supports appear to be very fragile. He is also a father of two children with whom he has little contact and I think it is very questionable whether he had the personal resources to be a stable father. Again having said this, it is critical he become involved with a mental health therapist in the community for ongoing emotional support and guidance in his life," said Shane.


The Winnipeg man said he is trying to put the anger behind him and focus on making the most of a fresh start once he tastes freedom later this summer.

He understands the odds are stacked against him.

"Honestly, I don’t have time for regrets. If you look back, it’s done. There’s nothing you can do about it," he says, attributing his outlook on life to several Robert Greene books he’s read while behind bars.

"People spend too much time in the past. They’re not in the present moment enough," he says.

“Honestly, I don’t have time for regrets. If you look back, it’s done. There’s nothing you can do about it."

But there will always be lingering regrets about what happened.

"I could have said something when he left me at the Miller home. I could have run away. I could have done any number of things, but it’s in the past.

"I was just young. He was in my head. He f——d with my head and s—t. I thought at the time I was helping my family by keeping him away from them," he says.

"I used to have a lot (of anger), but I don’t see a point anymore. Why give him that satisfaction?"

As for thoughts about how life might have played out had he not been victimized by Whitmore?

"It would have been really different," he says. "I’m not thankful that it happened, but it’s made me who I am now."

The abandoned farmhouse in Kipling, Sask., where Peter Whitmore held his kidnapping victims in 2006 was set ablaze during filming of a movie in 2009.  (Gil Segovia / Digital Noise Photography)

The abandoned farmhouse in Kipling, Sask., where Peter Whitmore held his kidnapping victims in 2006 was set ablaze during filming of a movie in 2009. (Gil Segovia / Digital Noise Photography)

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Reporter

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

Read full biography

Comments are not accepted on this story due to a publication ban.

Why aren't comments accepted on this story? See our Commenting Terms and Conditions.