Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The Sparwood 'Bogeyman' who slipped through the cracks

From my piece in The Tyee today.

Randall Hopley, the Sparwood bogeyman, was back in the news last week.
Hopley is the scrawny loner who grabbed three-year-old Kienan Hebert from his bed and held him for four days in 2011. Hopley then eluded a massive RCMP manhunt and snuck Kienan, unhurt, back into the family home, leaving him snugly wrapped in a blanket. It took another three days for police to catch Hopley.
It was a rare story that justified the news media cliché "every parent's worst nightmare." Kienan was a cute kid from a caring family. Hopley was a 46-year-old loner with a long criminal record who lived in a trailer and drove a clapped out 24-year-old Toyota. Police released pictures that showed an unshaven man with blotchy skin and a bad haircut.
But Hopley was also a perfect example of how badly things can go when we don't do anything to deal with a little kid's problems and just boot him into the world.

The kidnapping was one of the chapters in Dead Ends: B.C. Crime Stories, my book published last year. (Available in fine bookstores or through Amazon and Chapters.) The story was gripping. But so was Hopley's sad life.

Check out the rest of the column here.

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