Police say a Saskatchewan girl abducted from a playground last week was dropped off in a wooded area outside the city of Prince Albert.
In a news conference Wednesday morning, Insp. Jason Stonechild with Prince Albert police said the eight-year-old girl walked from the woods to a nearby farm where the owner called police.
He said a canine unit followed the girl’s footsteps back to the woods to figure out where she had been abandoned.
An Amber Alert was issued July 4 for the girl after she disappeared from a Prince Albert playground.
She was found several hours later.
Jarrod John Charles, who is 19, is facing numerous charges, including kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault and abandoning a child.
The girl’s mother said the child was being supervised at the park by her grandmother, who left briefly to grab a bottle of water when the alleged kidnapping took place.
CONNECTION TO PREVIOUS ALERT
Charles has been previously tied to another Amber Alert in the province.
Court documents show Charles was charged with abducting two boys early last fall in La Ronge. However, the charges were later stayed.
Crown prosecutor Luke Coupal said there was no evidence Charles intended to take the children from their parents in that case.
“That’s not what happened here,” Coupal said in a July 6 interview with the Canadian Press.
“Jarrod was friends with the boys. They regularly hung out and one of the boys contacted his parents and explained that he would like to continue hanging out with Jarrod and the parent said ‘No, come home’ and the child refused.”
Charles and the boys were later found at his grandmother’s home in the community of St. Louis, about 275 kms south of La Ronge.
“They were playing video games, eating pop and chips, so the boys were perfectly fine and were taken back to their parents,” said Coupal.
REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER
In December 2016, Charles was sentenced to three-and a-half months time served and three years probation for a case of sexual interference involving a nine-year-old girl.
“You might think that three and a half months seems a little odd,” said Coupal.
“We need to bear in mind that sexual interference spans a spectrum of everything from possibly a kiss that has a sexual nature right up to violent sexual assaults, and the judge has to determine where on that spectrum is the appropriate sentence based on the facts.”
Coupal could not provide any further details.
Charles was ordered to get sexual offender counselling, not to be alone with children under the age of 16, not to be in parks or pools unless he’s with an adult who is aware of his conviction and not to use social media to communicate with anyone under the age of 16.
He was also told to register with the National Sexual Offender Registry.
– With files from 650 CKOM.