CALGARY - The mother of a B.C. man who admitted to abducting a three-year-old boy last year, setting off a frantic cross-Canada search, hopes her son will receive the help he needs in prison.
A sentencing hearing for Randall Hopley, 46, begins Wednesday in a Cranbrook, B.C., court for the four-day abduction of Kienan Hebert from the boy's home in Sparwood, B.C., last September.
Kienan was abducted in the middle of the night wearing nothing but his Scoobie Doo boxer shorts.
The boy's abduction made national headlines, spawned a Canada-wide manhunt and led to hundreds of local and B.C. residents launching a ground search near the family's home.
And just as quietly as he vanished, the boy was returned to the place he was taken from, apparently unharmed, both physically and emotionally.
Hopley was arrested a few days later after police tracked him to an abandoned cabin on Crowsnest Lake, just across the border from the B.C. town where the Hebert's lived.
Last March, Hopley admitted to abduction of a person under 14 and break and enter with intent to commit an indictable offence, but not guilty to kidnapping. His sentencing hear is expected to last two days.
Hopley's mother Margaret Fink said she's been hearing from her son every week and he seems to be doing well.
"I'm hoping he will get a lot of help and remember what he did to the little boy. He needs some help," she said in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press from her home in Fernie, B.C.
Fink said she isn't sure what prompted her son to take Kienan.
"I still haven't gotten the story from him but someday I hope to find out what happened."
"I'm proud of him for telling them that he's guilty," she added.
The Hebert family has since moved away from Sparwood and back to northern Alberta.
Kienan's father, Paul Hebert, couldn't be reached for comment but earlier said the guilty pleas gave the family a sense of "closure" but that he would take no pleasure in seeing Hopley punished.
"We don't want to celebrate Hopley's punishment,'' said Hebert. "It's not for us to do so. In our faith we simply learn that we simply have to forgive one another. We're all sinners.''
Hebert said Hopley should have received help a long time ago and hoped he received the help he needs to become a better citizen.
He said his son is doing well and there's no sign of trauma.
Hebert said Kienan remembers what happened but is not afraid because "Hopley didn't do anything to him.''
Documents released after Hopley's arrest showed that he was convicted in 1985 of sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy and a psychiatric report leading up to his prison release warned he could offend again.
The report said Hopley had an IQ well below average, and was one of those people who seemed to have fallen between the cracks of various support agencies.
Hopley's current lawyer, William Thorne, called his client "a very simple man with a very childish manner."
"I'm not sure exactly what help it is he needs or what help is available. People with certain kinds of, certain types of psychiatric and psychological issues — there isn't much treatment available for them. I suspect Mr. Hopley may fall into that category."
Thorne said it isn't clear whether Hopley will actually receive his sentence this week or whether the judge will reserve his decision.
He said although all court cases are difficult this case does stand out.
"This one is very unusual, very different. I can't recall ever seeing one like this or a reported case that comes even close."