POLITICS

'Like making a movie:' Manitoba hotel keeper recalls kidnapping suspect's arrest

05/27/2013 10:41 EDT | Updated 07/27/2013 05:12 EDT
BRANDON, Man. - The manager of a Manitoba hotel where a U.S. man accused of kidnapping his three-year-old son was staying says the arrest happened so quickly he doesn't think the man "even had a chance to blink."

Bernie Hiebert, who runs the Casablanca Motor Inn in Brandon, says local police swooped down on the hotel Sunday afternoon after the suspect's use of a credit card to check in apparently gave away his location.

"In a split second, there were five or six ... (police) cars that rushed into the yard," Hiebert recalled Monday. "Everything was like a 30-second 'Top Cop' show. They went to the door and the gentleman came out and they handcuffed him."

The alleged abduction occurred Saturday when a man broke into his estranged wife's home in Longmont, Colo., blasted her with a stun gun and pepper spray and kidnapped three-year-old Luke Turner.

Prosecutors in the state of Colorado were working Monday to take custody of Monty Ray Turner, 51, who was being held on numerous charges, including kidnapping. A court order prohibits the father from contacting his wife and son.

Authorities said the child was unharmed and they were making arrangements to return him to his mother Brandy Turner.

She said the boy was looking forward to coming home.

"He was very excited to talk to me," Brandy Turner said, recounting a Sunday phone conversation with Luke.

Hiebert said he was totally unsuspecting of the man and boy who checked into the Casablanca. He said he and the father exchanged chit-chat and Hiebert advised them on where to get a bite to eat.

"(There was) nothing suspicious or unusual in any way, shape or form," he said. "I couldn't believe it after I got the call from the Colorado police asking for all the information on this gentleman."

Hiebert, who was contacted twice by Longmont police beforehand to determine whether the suspect was at the hotel, said authorities must have been able to track the man's location because he used a credit card to check in.

"It's pretty hard not to track that," Hiebert said. "If he would have paid cash, it would have been different."

Police have not officially said how they found the accused.

The Canadian Border Services Agency said it was reviewing how Monty Turner was able to get into the country with his son.

Hiebert said the man and boy arrived in a red-coloured truck with Missouri licence plates, although the man had a Colorado driver's licence. He said both looked tired, but the boy appeared to be fine.

"He was happy. He smiled. He walked outside the door at one point when his dad went to get something from the truck and ... said, 'That's my dad.'"

That's why the swiftness of the arrest caught Hiebert, who likes to watch cop shows on TV, off guard.

"It was something like making a movie to me. I didn't really know what was going on at first."

Brandy Turner told The Associated Press on Monday that she had spoken with Luke on the phone and he knows he's coming home. She said she couldn't travel to Canada to get him because she has no passport.

The boy's grandfather, Ronald Turner, 72, was pulled over in Missouri on Sunday on a warrant for second-degree kidnapping. He was driving a vehicle with a licence plate number listed on an Amber Alert that had been issued after Luke was taken.

Sgt. Bill Lowe of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the grandfather was alone when he was pulled over and was in custody.

— With files from The Associated Press