A 37-year-old man is facing a number of charges, including kidnapping and sexual assault with a weapon, after an eight-year-old girl reported being pulled into a vehicle and assaulted on March 10.
Police said the girl was walking home in the area of 144 Street and 110 Avenue at approximately 5:30 p.m. when she was approached by a vehicle. The man driving pulled her into the vehicle, sexually assaulted her and dropped her off nearby, Edmonton police said in a March 11 news release.
The girl immediately reported the incident to her parents, who contacted police.
The EPS asked for the public’s help identifying the suspect.
Wade Stene, 37, was taken into custody without incident at his residence in Edmonton on March 21. He has since been remanded, police said in a news release Monday.
“There was surveillance from all angles and all different parts of the community that helped assist us in determining who the accused was,” Det. Cherie Jerebic with the EPS Child Protection Section said Tuesday.
“It was absolutely amazing how the community pulled together.”
Jerebic also said the girl helped lead police to make the arrest.
“Our complainant was amazing. She was able to clearly detail everything that happened to her throughout the offence,” Jerebic said.
“With that, we were able to put a plea out to the public for help — in which all the community came together and provided information with regards to any suspicious activity in the area and provided video from their homes and vehicles to assist us in the investigation.”
Stene is facing several charges, including kidnapping, sexual assault with a weapon, invitation to sexual touching, sexual interference, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, uttering threats, making child pornography and possession of child pornography.
EPS said Stene reportedly lived and worked in multiple locations in Alberta and British Columbia, including Drayton Valley, Fort McMurray, Vernon and Kelowna.
Because of that, detectives are concerned there may be additional victims in other jurisdictions. Police are releasing photos of Stene and are encouraging any additional victims to speak to their local police department.
Police said the incident was random and the accused and the victim did not know each other.
“Stranger sex assaults are very rare and so are stranger abductions,” Jerebic said.
Jerebic added the young girl is doing OK.
“I had a conversation with her mother today with regards to how the complainant is doing and she’s doing OK. She has a great family who are supporting her through this.”
Stene is described as six-foot-two and weighing approximately 150 pounds. He has short brown hair and hazel eyes. Stene may alternate between having facial hair and being clean shaven.
Anyone in Edmonton who believes they may have been victimized by Stene is encouraged to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.