Edmonton Sun

Friday, January 19, 2001

Mom hunt is over

City cops nab woman wanted for kidnapping

By ANDREA WIEBE, EDMONTON SUN

A Canada-U.S. manhunt came to a dramatic conclusion in downtown Edmonton last night when police arrested a woman wanted for abducting a two-year-old girl.

Cops with guns drawn surrounded a motorhome near 113 Street and 107 Avenue yesterday just after 5 p.m. and took into custody the woman and her boyfriend, said police spokesman Annette Bidniak.

The 12 cruisers were sent out after a tip came in from a Calgary man at the Kingsway Garden Mall who recognized the U.S. couple's motorhome from Calgary media reports, Bidniak said.

Cops in Alberta, B.C., and Washington State were on the lookout for Janine Marie Schindler - who is eight months pregnant - and Jeffrey Scott Pilkenton, both 34. Schindler was wanted on warrants from the Snohomish County Sheriff's office for allegedly abducting her two-year-old daughter, Heather Parker, from Parker's grandmother and legal guardian in Arlington, Washington, on Jan. 5.

Edmonton police quietly manoeuvred their cruisers into place as the motorhome left the Kingsway Mall, Bidniak said. Cops had the suspects in custody within 20 minutes after taking them by surprise, she said.

A man who was inside a nearby Shell service station said police descended on the area and told about 15 staff and customers in the store to stay against the back wall.

"Why would I be worried, with all those cruiser cars around here," joked the man who didn't want to be identified.

Police decided to conduct the takedown because of reports the woman might be violent, Bidniak said.

It was the second shot police had at nabbing the suspects, who were spotted yesterday in Calgary.

"They (Calgary police) were investigating these people already for theft, that being shoplifting.

"The woman was apparently stopped in a store (by security guards). A male friend of hers allegedly helped her escape," she said.

Police handed the child over to Child Protection Services last night, said Bidniak.

She will be sent back to Washington to her grandmother within the next few days, Bidniak added.

A 22-year-old Edmonton man who happened to hook up with the couple was also in the motorhome during the takedown and was questioned by police and released.

Edmonton police expect to lay charges for possessing stolen property and possibly shoplifting because of a variety of items found in the motorhome, Bidniak said.

The suspects also face charges in Calgary for theft and escaping lawful custody, she said.

Police are in contact with Canadian immigration officials to make arrangements to send the couple back to Washington, where the woman faces charges of custodial interference and theft, said Bidniak.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.