Saanich toddler found on Jersey, estranged spouse facing extradition in 2016 parental abduction case

Saanich toddler found on Jersey, estranged spouse facing extradition in 2016 parental abduction case
WatchIt's been a massive search that's lasted more than three years and stretched across the globe but now a four-year-old girl has been found safe and her mother charged with abduction

The 33-year-old estranged spouse accused of abducting her daughter in 2016 is facing extradition from Jersey after being found on a boat near St. Catherine.

Three years ago, a Canada-wide warrant was issued for the arrest of Lauren Etchells after she allegedly abducted her 19-month-old daughter Kaydance and boarded a flight out of Canada with her, Etchell’s new partner Marco van der Merwe and their newborn son Marcus. Police said this violated a court order intended to protect the rights of Kaydance and Kaydance’s other mother Tasha Brown.

Brown contacted Saanich police shortly after Etchells left Canada with Kaydance in May 2016. Police said throughout the course of the investigation, they learned Etchells, Kaydance and Marcus had travelled to England, France, the Netherlands, the Middle East and possibly to Spain and Portugal. They also said at some point she broke off her relationship with van der Merwe and continued to travel throughout Europe with Kaydance and Marcus, using their UK passports.

A Red Notice was published by INTERPOL to alert authorities that Etchells was wanted for arrest.

Then on July 3, police on Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands between England and France, were alerted to a suspicious 13-foot inflatable dinghy landing south of St. Catherine at around 8 a.m.

A photo of the dinghy that police said Etchells was using. (Saanich police/Jersey police)

Saanich police said Etchells, Kaydance, Marcus and Etchell’s parents, Brian and Angela Etchells, were on the boat. When they were questioned about their plans, they allegedly told Jersey police they were holidaying in France and decided to go to Jersey for a visit. Police said none of the five passengers had passports.

Etchells, who is originally from England, was arrested and charged with child neglect and immigration offences. She was also arrested on a warrant issued under extradition law in Jersey and has been remanded in custody for four weeks.

Brian and Angela Etchells, who are both 67-years-old and from England, have been charged with aiding and abetting immigration offences.

Kaydance, who is now four-years-old and Marcus, who is three-years-old, have been placed into foster care on the island while the investigation is ongoing. Saanich police said the process to bring Kaydance and Etchells back to Canada has begun but will take time.

“We are extremely pleased to report that four-year-old Kaydance has been located and is in the care of the appropriate authorities in Jersey. She is in good health, is happy and appears to have been well cared for” said Sgt. Julie Fast, public information officer for the Saanich police, said in a statement.

Brown also provided a statement. She said she was grateful to learn Kaydance is in good health and care but she can’t celebrate fully until Kaydance is back Canada.

“It is for this reason that I am spending today with my lawyer, and the various other agencies involved in bringing Kaydance home safely and…SOON!! But there is a lot I still need to do,” Brown said in the statement.

“For now, I wish to thank some of the people and agencies that have helped, including: Elisabeth Strain and the Saanich Police Department for their devotion to this case, along with Global Affairs Canada and the Central Authorities in Victoria, BC and London, UK. Today would not be happening without these special people. I am also grateful for the love I received from the friends and family who kept me going during the lowest of lows. I guess a person can survive on hope. Thank you all for this reminder.”

Brown also posted a video on YouTube:

Brown and Etchells married in 2013. Kaydance was conceived through a donor process and the couple separated in July 2015.


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