09/11/2014 10:25 EDT | Updated 11/11/2014 05:59 EST

Kevin Maryk sentenced to 4 years for abducting his 2 children

Manitoba Judge Ted Lismer sentenced Kevin Maryk to four years in prison on Thursday for abducting his two children. With credit for time served, Maryk will be released in 374 days.​

In June, Maryk pleaded guilty to abducting his five-year-old daughter Abby and seven-year-old son Dominic Maryk. 

Abby and Dominic went missing in August 2008 and weren't found until May 2012 — in a townhouse complex in Guadalajara, Mexico.

At the time of their disappearance, the children were on a two-week vacation as part of a court-approved visit with Maryk. Their mother, Emily Cablek, has legal custody.

Police got a break in the case in 2012 when a neighbour in Guadalajara called authorities after recognizing the children in a Crime Stoppers video that aired in Mexico. They were then brought back to Cablek in Winnipeg.

​In June of this year, Maryk pleaded guilty to two counts of abduction, one for each of the children. In return for the plea, the Crown dropped three other abduction-related charges against him.

On Thursday, Lismer said Maryk was a "genial enough father" but failed to provide "basic necessities guaranteed to every child in Canada."

Maryk has already served 678 days in a Canadian jail, as well as 171 days in a Mexican jail. Lismer gave Maryk a total of 1,077 days of credit for time served, leaving 347 left for Maryk to serve now.

Lismer said the Crown's submission of five years was "not out of line," but four years was a more reasonable sentence.

He also ruled Maryk can't have any contact with his children while he serves his remaining time.

Cablek told reporters outside the courtroom she was disappointed with the sentence. She hoped he would be sentenced to 10 years.

Sentencing delayed repeatedly

Maryk's sentencing hearing dragged on over the summer before Lismer heard final arguments in August. He reserved his decision until Thursday.

The Crown, which has described the conditions the children were kept in as deplorable, with no access to school, medical care or friends, was asking for a five-year prison sentence.

Before delivering his sentence, Lismer said the children both had significant shortfalls in their education level as a result of the abduction.

The defence said Maryk made a mistake based on concern for his children.

Defence lawyer Todd Bourcier said Maryk was worried the children's mother was returning to a life of prostitution and drug use. There is no chance Maryk would attempt to abduct Dominic or Abby again, he said.

Lismer disputed that in his delivery of the sentence, saying Maryk was still plotting to take his children.

Bourcier told Lismer during the sentencing hearing that Maryk is not "the monster the Crown is making him out to be" but rather "a father who made a bad mistake."

In a recorded police statement played for Lismer in the summer, Cablek said both kids have struggled to catch up in school and make friends since they returned. She said she is terrified something terrible will happen again and worries about her children being in contact with their father.

A week before Maryk's plea, one of his accomplices, Robert Groen, was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to abduction-related charges.

A third man, Cody McKay, who is Maryk's nephew, is still at large and a Canada-wide warrant remains for his arrest.