Edmonton police continue to investigate the alleged abduction of a teenage girl on Friday afternoon. Investigators say even though the suspect is now in custody and the teen is safe, they have yet to determine the relationship between the two.
“It’s unclear at this point whether they are related,” Insp. Ray Akbar said on Friday night. “Our investigation is unfolding, however, the preliminary information we have does include the fact that the suspect is known to the victim.”
Akbar said the suspect and teen were both co-operating with police. The suspect’s name was not released after the arrest was made, but earlier on Friday, police identified the suspect as Jacques Sennesael.
An Amber Alert that had been issued was lifted after Edmonton police said the 14-year-old girl, whom they initially alleged was the victim of a “forcible abduction” on Friday afternoon, had been found safe.
The alert was lifted less than an hour after it was first issued at about 4 p.m.
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Police said the girl was abducted in the area of 84 Street and 105 Avenue at about 3 p.m. by a 47-year-old man who was last seen travelling west on 106 Avenue in a red sedan.
The girl was located in north Edmonton, police said.
Investigators said she is a student at McNally High School.
“The call was made to the school resource officer from a school in the neighbourhood of a suspicious male looking for this female,” Akbar said. “Peers and witnesses that know the female had a conversation with the male and circumstances led to them informing the school resource officer.
“Witnesses did observe the young lady speaking to the male in his vehicle prior to getting in the vehicle with him.”
When asked if the girl willingly got in the vehicle, Akbar said, “at this point it appears to be so.”
“However, there was information earlier from a witness that indicated that the male was suspicious and they may have seen a handgun in the vehicle,” he added. “Whether it was displayed or whether it was just in the vehicle is unclear at this point, but that information led to the Amber Alert and concern for her safety.”
Akbar said the suspect’s vehicle has been seized and police were in the process of trying to obtain a warrant in order to search it.
Emma Clark submitted video to Global News of the suspect in the abduction being arrested in the area of 118 Avenue and 97 Street. Police have confirmed to Global News that a man was arrested at that location in connection with the abduction.
“I was on my way from Kingsway and around the roundabout there was a cop coming… we had to let him through and we’re on the corner of where the strip mall is and two other cops had to get through,” Clark told Global News. “So we went to the right and they went to the parking lot and I saw that they were getting out and I saw the man in a red tank top.
Clark said she saw a red vehicle nearby but could not confirm if it was the one described in the Amber Alert.
The suspect was arrested at a laundromat at the strip mall. Global News spoke with the owner of the laundromat, who said the suspect came in at about 2:30 p.m., put laundry into a machine and then left.
The owner said the suspect came back about an hour later with a girl. They were in the laundromat for about half-an-hour before police came in with guns drawn and arrested the suspect, he said.