August 10, 2017 12:44 pm
Updated: August 14, 2017 12:21 pm

Alberta woman who allegedly kidnapped son and ran off to Central America arrested in Belize

WATCH: A Lethbridge woman is behind bars, facing charges after allegedly kidnapping her young son and hiding in Central America for more than three years. Katelyn Wilson reports.

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove the names of the boy’s mother and father as a publication ban has been ordered on any information that could lead to identifying the child.

Police have arrested a Lethbridge woman accused of abducting her young son back in 2014 and taking him to Central America, where she has been on the run ever since.

Investigators allege the 11-month-old was abducted in January 2014 by his mother after she failed to drop him off for a court-ordered visit.

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The boy’s father contacted police after his mother allegedly sent him a text message saying she had left the country with their child and didn’t plan to return.

“When I got the phone call, I couldn’t even speak, I was just shaking,” he said Thursday. “It was so exciting, so overwhelming.

Two days later, police emailed a court order to the mother and her family, giving the boy’s father sole custody of their son and ordering her to return the child.

READ MORE: Winnipeg mom fights off man during attempted abduction of 4 year old daughter

Police said they made “numerous attempts” to contact the boy’s mother, urging her to return to Canada, but she did not respond.

On February 5, 2014 she was charged with child abduction and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Since then, police allege the child’s mother intentionally evaded them over the years by moving throughout Central America. Officers tracked her to Mexico, Guatemala and various parts of Belize.

The mother and child have been the subjects of various Interpol notices and the child has been listed with numerous missing children organizations.

READ MORE: 7-year prison term upheld for mother hiding daughter in China

On July 19, police received information on where the boy’s mother was located.

Police said within hours of receiving the tip, officers in Belize were able to locate her and her son, who is now four, in the town of San Ignacio in the Cayo District.

“She was ultimately arrested there for failing to produce valid immigration documents,” Sgt. Cam Van Roon with the Criminal Investigation Section said.

“She had been in Belize outside of her passport for quite some time, so that was an area that they were able to enforce. As a result of that, ultimately that led to her arrest.”

The pair was taken into police custody and transported to Belmopan, the Belize capital.

Lethbridge police said the boy’s mother was jailed and fined for failing to produce valid immigration documents and the young boy was placed in the care of Belize Human Services.

READ MORE: Ontario girl subject of Amber Alert located, mother charged with child abduction

Then, on Aug. 9, his mother was deported to the U.S. where she was arrested upon landing in Houston, and then subsequently returned to Canada.

She was taken into custody by Lethbridge police officers at the Calgary International Airport.

“One of the significant challenges of an international investigation is navigating foreign bureaucracy,” Van Roon added. “The agencies we worked with were all very cooperative and helpful, but the laws, rules and regulations they are bound by sometimes differ from ours so there was a lot of red tape that caused delays and those delays often resulted in the accused being able to move before authorities were able to apprehend her.”

READ MORE: Man charged with child abduction after 6 missing Calgary children found east of Toronto

On Monday, Aug. 14, police announced the boy had since been returned to Canada and was in the care of his father.

“It’s been a hard three-and-a-half years,” the boy’s father said.

The boy’s mother, 33, is charged with child abduction. She has been remanded in custody and is set to appear in court Aug. 15.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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