NEWS

Amber Alert for missing B.C. boy extended

09/09/2011 06:09 EDT | Updated 11/09/2011 05:12 EST

Despite many public tips and at least two concentrated searches on Friday, a three-year-old B.C. boy and his suspected abductor are still missing.

Police believe Randall Hopley, 46, took Kienan Hebert from his home in southeastern B.C. The boy's parents last saw him at bedtime on Tuesday evening.

On Friday night, RCMP renewed the Amber Alert for Hebert for another 24 hours.

Investigators have been pursuing tips from the public. Vehicles were lined up at several RCMP roadblocks in northern B.C. on Friday evening. Police told drivers they were following up on an unconfirmed sighting of a hitchhiker with a little boy, said Paula Pawlovich.

The RCMP were also handing out flyers with photos of Hopley and Hebert on them, she told CBC News.

Pawlovich, who is driving from Whitehorse to Prince George with her daughter, said they went through four roadblocks in two hours as police stopped each vehicle. One was on the Alaska Highway, north of Dawson Creek, and the others were on Highway 97.

Earlier on Friday, a public tip prompted a police search of a B.C. ferry.

The Coastal Celebration was en route from Tsawwassen, south of Vancouver, to Swartz Bay, north of Victoria, on Friday afternoon when Delta police requested that it return to the terminal, said Mark Stefanson, a BC Ferries spokesman.

Search of ferry fruitless

A passenger had called police with a general description of a car that matched Hopley's vehicle, said Delta police Sgt. Sharlene Brooks. She said investigators felt they had to do due diligence and search the ship. Police did not find the boy, Hopley or his brown 1987 Toyota Camry with B.C. licence plate 098 RAL.

Christine McAvoy, a passenger on the vessel, told CBC News the captain announced the detour was linked with the Amber Alert.

Hebert vanished from his home in Sparwood, B.C., sometime overnight Tuesday. His parents awoke the next day to find him missing. Since then, hundreds of people have been scouring the area and the surrounding woods of the Elk Valley.

There are now 60 RCMP investigators working in Sparwood on the case.

Hopley is a Sparwood resident who has a long criminal history, including convictions for breaking and entering and sexual assault. Hopley's elderly mother, Margaret Fink, pleaded on Friday for him to turn himself in.

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