Edmonton Sun

January 21, 2001

Mom's the word

Alleged abductor wants to let her mother know she loves her

By KIM BRADLEY -- Staff Writer
Edmonton Sun

Alleged abductor Janine Schindler is led to jail by an Edmonton police officer on Thursday. Yesterday, Schindler said she wanted to have her baby back home in Washington. Police are considering staying the charges against her in Alberta.

A pregnant crack addict made a tearful jailhouse plea yesterday to be returned to Washington before she delivers her baby.

"Call my mom and tell her I love her," Janine Schindler, 34, told The Sun through tears in a phone interview from the Edmonton Remand Centre.

"She's a real tough lady. I'm so glad that she's got my babies, I appreciate what she's done, and I hope she loves me."

Schindler, who is due Feb. 6, and her 32-year-old boyfriend, Jeff Pilkenton, were arrested outside an Edmonton gas station Thursday at gunpoint, ending a two-week, Canada-U.S. manhunt. She was accused of abducting her two-year-old daughter, Heather Parker, from Arlington, Washington, where the girl lived with her grandmother and Schindler's two older daughters.

The little girl was returned to her guardian, Schindler's mom Dale Cottet, on Friday.

Schindler, being held here for possession of stolen property, is begging police to stay the charges against her and send her home so her baby will be born in the U.S. The child will likely join her three other children in the home of their grandmother.

"I don't want to go into labour here and risk losing this child to foster care. I want it to be with family," she sobbed.

"The doctor said yesterday I could deliver at any time. It's really upsetting me."

Schindler said her "desperate" ordeal started when she became addicted to crack just after Heather was born.

Last year, she lost custody of her three kids to her mom, who got a court order that said she couldn't have them back or see them unless she got drug counselling.

She was kicked out of her mom's home and was living in her car.

In October she quit crack, Schindler said, and found a place to live. But Cottet didn't relent, she said.

And when her mom wouldn't let her drop by at Christmas with gifts for the girls, aged 15, 14 and 2, she snapped.

"I did it out of love. I felt like I lost everything. Heather is my baby and I just had to see her. I never planned on taking her and I'd never hurt her. She's an angel," Schindler cried.

"I was desperate to tell her that her mommy loves her and I didn't abandon her."

Schindler says she and Pilkenton, the father of her unborn child, drove a motorhome through B.C. to Edmonton.

"It was like a vacation. It's a beautiful country and the people in Edmonton are great. The girls here in jail have been very supportive.

"Now I wish that I would have done things differently, but it's too late. I want to have a chance to do the right thing. I'll do whatever it takes."

Cottet, reached at her home last night, asked The Sun to relay a message back to her daughter.

"Tell her we all love her very much, and we want the best for her and the baby."

Schindler and Pilkenton face extradition and charges in Washington.

Edmonton cops are considering a stay on the charges here so Schindler can be deported.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.