Father embraces opportunity to speak with young son for first time in years
An Alberta man looks forward to reuniting with his son following a separation that lasted more than three years while authorities searched for the boy throughout Central America.
“It was just so huge and exciting to finally get that call we’ve been waiting so long for.”
Chad, whose last name is being withheld in order to protect the identity of his four-year-old child, says the last time he saw his son was in January of 2014.
Chad’s ex-wife, the boy's mother, sent him a text message indicating she had fled the country with their son and had no plans to return to Canada.
The father was awarded sole interim custody of the 11-month-old and arrest warrants were issued for the woman, whose name is protected under a publication ban, on charges of parental kidnapping.
The woman was tracked throughout Central America but remained on the run for more than three years. Last month, police received information she and her son were living in San Ignacio, Belize. Local authorities apprehended the suspect on charges related to improper immigration documents and she was returned to Canada.
The boy remains in Central America under the care of Belize Human Services. Chad has had an opportunity to speak with his son by phone and video calls.
“It was such an emotional moment for me getting to hear his voice the first time,” said Chad. “Then I even got to see him and that was just so exciting.”
Chad says his son appeared happy and healthy. Plans are underway to reunite the father and son in Canada, despite the boy’s weather-related concerns.
“He's under the impression that it's cold up here and it snows all the time in Canada so he's trying to get ready for the snow,” said Chad with a laugh. “He likes airplanes and he likes flying kites, but he can only do it when it’s windy down there, which is fairly rare.”
“I just reassured him Lethbridge is windy so he'll get to fly kites up here.”
The boy’s mother has been charged with child abduction and remains in custody. Chad says he would consider allowing his ex-wife supervised visits with their son.
“Her being the only person he has really known for the past few years, it's not fair to him to just take that relationship away,” explained Chad.
Chad hopes to resume a normal family life with his son at his side. “It’s going to be just a huge adjustment for us here but a really good one.”
The boy’s mother is scheduled to appear in Lethbridge Court on August 15.
With files from CTV’s Terry Vogt