April 30, 2019 3:18 pm
Updated: April 30, 2019 8:52 pm

Former WHL player charged after allegedly snatching child, fleeing nude into B.C. lake

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A former professional hockey player has been charged after allegedly snatching a toddler from its family in Kelowna on Sunday afternoon.

Kelowna RCMP say Harold Giffen Nyren of Calgary is facing one count of assault and one count of willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer.

READ MORE: More witnesses needed as Kelowna RCMP investigate a child snatching incident


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The incident at Kerry Park took place around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. According to police, witnesses at the scene said a man allegedly grabbed a small child that was being held by its mother.

After a struggle, in which the child was wrestled away, the suspect ran away, tearing off his clothes before jumping into Okanagan Lake and swimming away. The suspect was eventually apprehended, with a crowd of onlookers taking in the spectacle.

WATCH: (Aired April 28, 2019): RCMP investigate a child snatching incident in downtown Kelowna

“He just picked up the baby out of the stroller by the head and started running with the baby and everyone was screaming,” witness Terri Haymen told Global News.

“He said it was a mistake. He didn’t mean to grab the baby.”

“It’s unclear at this time exactly what the male’s intentions were and that, of course, will be a large portion of our continued investigation,” Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said in a media release on Monday.

“As a parent myself, I can only imagine what would have been going through the minds of the child’s parents.”

WATCH: (Aired Aug. 9, 2018): Shocking surveillance footage captures attempted kidnapping in Osoyoos

Nyren was remanded into custody. However, it’s believed he’s in hospital.

Police say the child was seemingly uninjured, was examined and was later released from hospital.

Giffen Nyren, left, played four seasons in the WHL, including half a season with the Calgary Hitmen, who went on to play in the 2010 Memorial Cup in Brandon, Man., as WHL champions.  At right is Eric Wellwood of the OHL champion Windsor Spitfires.

Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press

 

Nyren, 30, played four seasons in the WHL with Moose Jaw, Kamloops and Calgary, from 2006-07 to 2009-10.

The six-foot defenceman played in the minors for a season, then attended university in Calgary for two seasons before playing in the minors again, this time for two seasons.

After that, he played three seasons in Europe. In his last season, Nyren played seven games with Amiens in France.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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