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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Missing Canadian teen in L.A. may not want to return

TORONTO (REUTERS) — A teenager in California, who discovered he had allegedly been abducted from Canada when he saw his own picture on a missing-children’s website, may not want to return to Canada to be reunited with his father, his grandmother said Wednesday.

The teen, whose name has not been released, was allegedly taken by his mother during a weekend visit in Red Deer, Alberta, in 1989, after a court gave his father sole custody.

Giselle-Marie Goudreault was arrested by U.S. authorities in the Los Angeles-area earlier this month, shortly after the 17-year-old saw his picture on the website while he and fellow students were running Internet searches on their names.

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“Knowing how old my grandson was, it was up to him to decide what might happen to him, and, as we understand, he may want to stay in California,” said the teen’s paternal grandmother, Linda, who asked that her last name not be used.

Speaking from her home near Red Deer, she said the family had not been in contact with the teenager, who was placed in foster care after his mother’s arrest.

“It’s not so simple. Everybody thinks, ‘Yay, he was found, he’ll be brought back to his dad,’ but it doesn’t work all that simple.”

Canadian authorities issued an arrest warrant for Goudreault after she fled the country with her then-3-year-old son. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman said authorities had been aware of the pair’s whereabouts for a year. “She registered some legal documents in the (United) States, they ran her name, a Canada-wide warrant came up,” said RCMP Constable Ralph Cervi in Red Deer, about 90 miles north of Calgary.

“And, working in conjunction with authorities down there, that’s how we finally grabbed ahold of her,” he said.

Cervi said police kept a tight lid on the discovery until the paperwork for an arrest and extradition order were ready.

Subsequently, the teen saw his picture on the website and told his teacher, who contacted police, his grandmother said.

Goudreault faces an extradition hearing in California, but it is unclear whether the teenager can or will be brought back to Canada.

“That’s the big question now. He’s spent 14 of his 17 years down there, this isn’t home for him up here,” Cervi said. “He’s done his education there, his friends are there and he’s almost an adult, so I don’t know what’s going to happen to him.”

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