A 54-year-old woman appeared in a Quebec courtroom Wednesday afternoon to face three charges in connection with the abduction of an eight-year-old girl in Laval.
The woman, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, was charged with kidnapping of a person under 16, extortion, and wearing a disguise with the intent to commit a crime.
The charge of kidnapping comes with a minimum sentence of five years in prison.
Officers say the suspect knew the girl, and that a "family dispute" was at the root of what happened.
According to Laval police, the girl was on her way to school Tuesday in Auteuil when a woman who knew her forced her into a car.
"The little girl didn't recognize her because she was wearing a wig with some glasses," said Const. Stephanie Beshara of Laval police.
"She asked the little girl to go inside the car, and the girl refused so she was forced in. Once the little girl was inside the car, she left."
The school informed parents at 9 a.m. that their child had not arrived on the bus, and her parents then called police to report their daughter was missing.
The girl’s mother told CTV Montreal she felt helpless because she couldn’t do anything to help her daughter.
"Is she scared? And I can't do anything to help. You're helpless," she said.
Soon afterward Richelieu-Saint Laurent police intercepted a vehicle in Beloeil. According to officers, a child had been tied up in the back seat, but was otherwise unhurt.
Bail hearing Friday
The accused's partner broke down in tears in the courtroom when she appeared in court Wednesday.
She remains in custody pending a bail hearing on Friday.
Crown prosecutor Brenda Toucado told CTV Montreal she will be opposing bail due to the seriousness of the charges.
The defence attorney said he has only met his client briefly and will study the evidence.
The girl’s mother said she is relieved her daughter was unharmed and is thankful to police for their speedy work. She added that she is concerned with how the incident will affect her daughter emotionally and is considering asking for psychological help.
"I am asking myself, 'What is going on inside that little head of hers?' You know, how will she be affected by this in the long run?" she said.
- With a report from CTV Montreal's Tania Krywiak