A man from Oregan, 41, has been arrested. The Edmonton Police Service has charged him with child luring under the Criminal Code of Canada, though more charges may be laid as the investigation progresses, including charges from other police agencies, said Insp. Brent Dahlseide, of the EPS’ major crimes branch, during a news conference Saturday morning.
“This was an intensive investigation right from the beginning,” Dahlseide said.
“This is a happy ending to an investigation that was exhaustive and intensive; a very heavy week for family and friends, as well, not knowing where [the child] was.”
Edmonton police partnered with multiple police agencies, including the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Gladstone Police (Oregon), Oregon City Police and the FBI.
A 13-year-old girl rode the bus to school on June 24, but she was reported missing after her family learned she did not attend class and did not come home that afternoon.
Family and friends pushed to find her, or any information regarding her whereabouts, in the days since by searching the neighbourhood, forming a Facebook group and posting to social media, handing out pamphlets and putting the child’s name and face on billboards.
According to the Alberta government website, police can only activate an Amber Alert if four criteria are met:
- someone with a proven disability has been abducted
- someone is in danger of serious harm or death
- there’s enough descriptive information so the public could identify the person, abductor or the mode of transportation
- there’s a reasonable expectation that the either the person who was abducted could be returned, or the abductor apprehended.
Initially, police did have evidence that suggested the teenager was with someone else, police said in a news release Saturday.
Eventually, Edmonton police gathered enough information to start drafting an Amber Alert. But then they learned the girl was out of the country, which made it no longer feasible because she was out of the jurisdiction.
At this point, police believe the Oregon man was in Edmonton, Dahlseide said. Police confirmed he and the girl had been in contact through a social media platform — Dahlseide was unsure of which one — but they’re unsure how the two made contact in person.
Police also do not know how the girl wound up across the border.
The girl is in a children’s hospital in Oregon for precautionary examination, police said.
Her family is currently flying to Oregon to bring her home.