Why was there no Amber Alert in Kamloops abduction? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Why was there no Amber Alert in Kamloops abduction?

Matthew Gustafson died in a stand-off with RCMP near Kamloops after allegedly abducting a former partner.
Image Credit: INSTAGRAM

Police took roughly four hours to track down an abducted woman and her child on Sunday, but there was no Amber Alert issued to the public in that time.

A Kamloops woman was violently abducted by her ex-partner on Sunday, Aug. 15, along with one of their two children. B.C. RCMP said she called 911 for help around 5:20 p.m., and it's believed she was inside a vehicle at the time.

Police received three 911 calls before 6 p.m. alleging the abduction, but it wasn't until another caller shortly before 9 p.m. spotted the vehicle northwest of Kamloops, roughly 14 kilometres off Highway 1, that they finally tracked down the suspect.

By around 3 a.m., Matt Gustafson, the alleged kidnapper, was shot and killed by police after exiting a trailer carrying a weapon and a child.

READ MORE: Man shot by police near Kamloops abducted partner, child

There was no Amber Alert issued to the public in that time but police aren't disclosing why, saying they cannot comment on the investigation.

"As this file is being investigated by the (Independent Investigations Office of B.C.), I can’t speak to any further details at this time," B.C. RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Alex Berube said in an emailed response to the question.

Police have a number of criteria required before an Amber Alert is issued.

A victim must be under the age of 18 and believed to be abducted and in imminent danger before an Amber Alert is issued, according to B.C. RCMP.

Police must have "enough descriptive information" about the victim, the abductor and/or a vehicle. Police must also believe the alert can be issued in a time frame with "reasonable expectation" the child will be found and/or the abductor will be apprehended.

Details of what happened are difficult to ascertain and likely won't be fully disclosed until the independent investigators issue a report.

Sources close to the situation told iNFOnews.ca that it was a violent ordeal.

He "beat (the mother) to a pulp" that day, according to a person close to the situation who identified Gustafson as the alleged kidnapper. He dragged her and she had "no skin" left on her shins.

READ MORE: Chilliwack man identified as victim in Kelowna homicide

As the woman and their youngest child were being abducted, the older of the two children managed to flee and called a family member for help, the source told iNFOnews.ca.

When police arrived at the scene after that family member then called 911, the RCMP said they found a vehicle with an "alleged weapon" inside. That call was around 5:45 p.m., according to RCMP.

It's unclear where that property was and whether it was the suspect's home.

Police found a second woman bound and injured at Gustafson's home hours later, just after 9 p.m.

It's also unclear who the second woman is and what her relation is to the suspect and other victims.

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Police received three calls from 5:20 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. about the abduction, with the second reporting a woman trying to flee a vehicle being driven erratically on Highway 1, according to B.C. RCMP.

It's unclear where the caller reported the vehicle to be and where that led RCMP in the search for Gustafson and the two victims.

However, it wasn't until a fourth caller reported the suspect's "original" vehicle near Deadman-Vidette Road nearly four hours later that RCMP was able to track down Gustafson, the mother and their youngest child.

Police rushed to the property northwest of Kamloops around 9 p.m., which was not the suspect's home as referenced by RCMP.

Police blocked the road and waited for the Emergency Response Team to arrive. Once he finally exited a trailer on the property after 3 a.m., Aug. 15, Gustafson was shot by police "during the engagement."

The child wasn't injured, but they found the mother inside the trailer after police shot Gustafson.

Both women were taken to Royal Inland Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the incident, as it does whenever a person is killed or seriously injured by police.

The family started an online fundraiser to support the mother and her children as they recover from the horrific hours-long abduction.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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