Opinion Column

Ends justify the means in Hebert's safe return


The joyous news broke Sunday morning that abducted three-year-old Kienan Hebert had been returned safe and sound to his home.

Dad Paul Hebert was complimentary of the police but raged at the justice system, which had let out the prime suspect, Randall Hopley, a convicted sex offender early after a plea bargain in another child abduction case.

He was sentenced to 18 months for break and enter in the deal that was struck.

Said Hebert, "The justice system failed a long time ago to get him the help he needed - the judge and the defence are the ones who did wrong, they're the screw ups who let this f**ing freak go."

Strong words for sure, but an accurate assessment.

Almost immediately the recriminations of the police started from all quarters. How could the abductor get the boy back in the unlocked, unguarded house and get away? And so on.

What is clear is there was a plan in place to try and coax the exact result they achieved.

Clearly, the police and the family were working together.

This was demonstrated when the boy's father hugged RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk at the press conference in a heart-stopping emotional moment.

The released details may seem strange on the surface and there has certainly been much speculation in media across the country. But, what I do know for sure is that when something like this happens, the police throw everything they've got at the investigation.

Much goes on behind the scenes that simply cannot be discussed publicly and the police are in no position to defend themselves until after the matter goes to court.

Remember the Vancouver kidnapping case of Graham McMynn five years ago?

The resources VPD threw at the case were extreme, depleting nearly a year's worth of its investigative overtime budget. And even at this vantage point so much of what went on behind the scenes is still not known.

Stranger child abduction cases are extreme and emotional. Fortunately, they are also rare. Rarer still is when the victim is returned unharmed as was the case here. In fact, this is the first in my memory that this type of case has had such a result.

The prime suspect was arrested Tuesday and in all likelihood will be charged accordingly.

Once that has occurred, the details of this case will become known and questions will be answered.

In the interim, we do know that Kienan Hebert is safe and that seems like a major success to me.