Police believe Quebec man sought in connection with murder of spouse is now in Ontario
The Amber Alert expanded to Ontario as police continue to search for Louka Fredette, 6, according to a spokesperson.
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A Quebec man sought by police in the murder of his spouse and the kidnapping of his six-year-old son is believed to have crossed the provincial border into Ontario, says a spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec.
Ugo Fredette, the father of Louka Fredette, has led police on a vast manhunt since about 5:30 p.m. Thursday when the young boy was reported to have gone missing.
Sûreté du Québec spokesperson Martine Asselin told reporters Friday afternoon that investigators believe Fredette is in the region of Napanee and travelling in a grey-coloured 2006 Honda CRV. The license plate of the vehicle is X78 BSL.
She said that an Amber Alert would be triggered in Ontario, putting police on high alert and transmitting emergency broadcasts of the latest information that may lead to Fredette and the return of his son.
“There has been a report that he has been observed, potentially in the Napanee area. We do have our resources out there and our officers out looking for this individual and a young boy,” said Ontario Provincial Police Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne. “At this time all we can say is that we are working closely with the SQ, keeping informed on updated information and we are asking members of the public if they do observe the vehicle, please contact their nearest policing authority.”
Police, however, do not know if Louka is travelling with his father.
“We all hope to find him safe and sound,” said Asselin, the Quebec police spokesperson.
Fredette, who is from Saint-Eustache, north of Montreal, is believed to have criss-crossed a vast area of western Quebec since allegedly fleeing with his son. Police say they discovered the body of the young boy's mother, Véronique Barbe, in Saint-Eustache.
Fredette's white Ford pick-up truck was discovered at a highway rest area near Lachute, Que., early Friday morning. From there, investigators believe that the man drove some 600 kilometres to the town of Rouyn-Noranda in northwestern Quebec, where he supposedly checked into a motel.
But early Friday morning, police received a tip from what they described as a credible witness that led them to believe Fredette had doubled back and come south again. The witness claimed to have spotted Fredette walking alone on a main street in Maniwaki, which is about 135 kilometres north of Ottawa.
That information led the local indigenous force, the Zitigan Zibi Police, to stop traffic and conduct a search of vehicles for Fredette, believed to have been travelling in the grey Honda CRV, in the hopes of recovering Louka.
But just as that was happening, Asselin, the SQ spokesperson, told reporters that new information had placed Fredette in Napanee, which is 50 kilometres west of Kingston.
Forensic teams initially inspected a white Ford F250 pickup truck that was abandoned in Lachute, northwest of Montreal. Police then found an abandoned grey Jeep Cherokee they believe Fredette had been driving.
Authorities have confirmed that a woman found dead in a home in St-Eustache was the boy’s mother. They say Véronique Barbe, a freelance film editor, was married to Fredette and had four children, including three before her relationship with Fredette.
A sign for a home daycare she operated was prominently displayed as forensic teams milled about in front of the residence.
Ugo Fredette has worked on several documentaries, including one about Cedrika Provencher, who was 9 years old when she disappeared from her home in Trois-Rivières 10 years ago. Her remains were found in a wooded area in December 2015.
Her grandfather, Henri Provencher, who runs the Cedrika Provencher Foundation, posted an appeal on Facebook urging Fredette to turn over his son to police.
“I appeal to your father’s heart, do not commit the irremediable,” Provencher said. “Thank you for acting as a responsible father, Ugo. Think of your child.”
Pina Arcamone, director of the Missing Children’s Network, says the Amber Alert program has been successful each time it has been used since May 2003.
“In each of these cases, all the children to date were recovered within hours of the deployment of the Amber Alert,” Arcamone said. “And we’re really hoping that with Louka, we can continue this track record.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 911.