WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg police are asking the public’s help in finding two missing children, who could be with their mother.
Montana Giesbrecht, 11, and Josh Giesbrecht, 9, were last seen around 6 p.m. Monday in the St. James area near Lumsden Avenue.
“The children may have received a ride from a party believed to be known to them, who was operating a small white four door vehicle,” police spokesperson Const. Rob Carver said at a media conference Tuesday.
Police said the children may be in the company of their mother, Sandra Giesbrecht, 44, or someone known to her.
“Certainly there are two missing children. If they are with their mom it could be deemed a parental abduction,” Const. Carver said.
WATCH: Winnipeg police say there’s ‘potential’ for parental abduction charges in Giesbrecht missing children case
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Police said they have been unsuccessful at contacting the mother.
Giesbrecht and the childrens’ father have been locked in a lengthy and bitter custody battle for more than two years.
Global News obtained court documents from two months ago that expressed:
“concerns about the security of the children and fears an abduction attempt. The court finds that the mother’s behaviour is both erratic and dangerous. Her past behaviour demonstrates that she is willing to go to any means necessary to get what she wants.”
Global News spoke with a family friend who said they’ve been up all night worried and haven’t slept and the family is living a nightmare.
Further court documents from April 2016 state:
“Police were also in receipt of text messages from the mother to a friend… In the text messages (Sandra Giesbrecht) also mused about disappearing with the children.”
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection said they are often involved with many cases of parental abduction and said these children need to be found quickly.
“Children aren’t meant to be caught in a tug of war between parents or between systems,” said Christy Dzikowicz from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “It’s not a healthy environment for kids to be on the run with parents or be sought after with police. Its just not safe.”
Montana is described as 4’5” tall, small build and has short dirty-blonde hair. She was last seen wearing a yellow Minion t-shirt, a white blouse over top and black capri leggings.
Josh is 4’2” tall, has long dirty-blonde hair and a small build. He was last seen wearing a dark blue sweater over top of a grey t-shirt with a basketball picture on it and blue sweatpants.
Officers said the search right now is just within Winnipeg and Manitoba.
“I can tell you as the clock ticks here we would likely broaden it to neighboring provinces,” said Const. Carver.
Police are not issuing an AMBER Alert because there is no specific information about the vehicle the children are alleged to have been riding in.
AMBER Alert Guidelines
According the the Manitoba RCMP there are guidelines when issuing an AMBER Alert:
- An AMBER Alert is intended only for the most serious, time-critical abduction cases.
- It’s not used for cases involving runaways or parental abduction, except in life-threatening situations.
When can an AMBER Alert be activated?
According the the Manitoba RCMP an AMBER Alert may only be activated when:
- Police have confirmed that an abduction has taken place.
- The victim is a child, or of proven physical or mental disability.
- There is reason to believe the victim is in danger of serious physical injury.
- There is information available that, if broadcasted to the public, could assist in the safe recovery of the victim.
Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to contact the Winnipeg Police Service Missing Persons Unit at 204-986-6250.