B.C. Manhunt Suspect's Mom Issues Plea
The mother of the man at the centre of a massive police manhunt in southeastern B.C. is urging her son to turn himself in.
"Please Randy, come home and visit me," Margaret Fink told CBC News on Friday morning from her home in Fernie, B.C.
RCMP say Randall Peter Hopley, 46, is a suspect in the possible abduction of three-year-old Kienan Hebert, who disappeared from his family home in nearby Sparwood, B.C., sometime overnight Tuesday.
The child's disappearance prompted police to issue an Amber Alert on Wednesday evening, asking drivers across B.C. and Alberta to watch out for Hopley's vehicle, while more than 200 searchers scoured the community and the surrounding woods of the Elk Valley.
Margaret Fink, who is elderly, in frail health, and hooked up to oxygen, says she's not doing well since learning her son is wanted by police.
Fink says she saw her son for the first time in a year on Tuesday, the day before Kienan was reported missing.
"I'm shocked, I really am shocked. When they first come and told me, I'm still shocked," she said.
Fink says in her heart, she doesn't believe her son took Kienan, but she's not sure.
"I would like Randy to come home with him and make sure [Kienan] is safe," she said.
Police release few details
The RCMP have not yet said why they've labelled Randall Hopley a "suspect" other than to suggest that his criminal background was a factor.
The RCMP said Hopley has no known connection to the missing boy, but they want to speak with him. Hopley is believed to be driving a brown 1987 Toyota Camry with the licence plate 098 RAL.
Amber Alert messages were broadcast throughout B.C. as far away as Vancouver, where display screens on transit buses and the city's SkyTrain system urged the public to tune in to local radio stations.
RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk declined to say what led police to target Hopley.
"I don't have the full background on Mr. Hopley, certainly more information will become available as we can release it," Moskaluk told reporters.
"Putting it bluntly, amongst us we do have people that have previously been involved in criminal activity in a variety of criminal offences.... Some of them become quite good citizens and partake in our communities and integrate back, but some don't."
Lengthy criminal record
According to court records and people who know him, Hopley has had at least one brush with the law involving a child, has a lengthy criminal record for other offences and a childhood marked by turmoil.
In November 2007, he was charged with breaking and entering, unlawful confinement and attempted abduction, confirmed Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie. The indictment for the case indicates the victim was under 16 years old.
Hopley pleaded guilty to breaking and entering and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, but the unlawful confinement and attempted abduction charges were stayed over concerns about evidence, MacKenzie told The Canadian Press.
In the mid-1980s, Hopley was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to two years in federal prison, the National Parole Board confirmed. The board didn't have details about what happened or the age of the victim because parole records are destroyed after 10 years.
This past June, Hopley was sentenced to two months in jail and two months of probation after he was convicted of an assault that occurred in Sparwood in April.
Hopley was also convicted in 2006 for breaking and entering in Sparwood, and was given a conditional sentence of nine months, according to court records.
In 2003, he received a one-year conditional sentence for theft under $5,000, and in 2002 he was handed a three-month conditional sentence after he was convicted of breaking and entering. Hopley also has several convictions for breaching conditions.
Hopley's stepfather, Doug Fink, says the trouble began well before law enforcement was involved.
The man's biological father died in a mine accident when Hopley was a young child, said Fink, who married Hopley's mother when Hopley was still a toddler.
"I couldn't handle him, he was running away and in trouble all the time," Fink told The Canadian Press in an interview Thursday.
Hopley stopped by his mother and stepfather's home in nearby Fernie on Tuesday, confirmed Fink, who wasn't home at the time. Fink said he hasn't seen Hopley in more than a year.
"He was always into trouble, he was around jail I think more than any place," recalled Fink.
"I didn't want nothing to do with him, he'd only stay so long and he couldn't help himself, he'd be in trouble again."
Hopley a 'square shooter' says friend.
Sparwood resident Orville Sheets told The Canadian Press he has known Hopley since the mid-1990s, and has bailed the man out of jail more than once in recent years.
Sheets, 74, said Hopley had been staying at his home, where Hopley was as recently as Tuesday, though he was gone by the time Sheets woke up Wednesday morning.
Sheets said he was surprised to learn Hopley's name was linked to the Amber Alert.
"He's basically a square shooter, you know," said Sheets.
"If he owes you something, he pays you and he doesn't do drugs, he don't smoke cigarettes, he don't drink beer, so, he's actually kind of a quiet guy. He doesn't like being pushed around. That's one thing."