Phone Call to Police Ends Canada Kidnapping Ordeal; 'Most Wanted Man' Caught After Chase
By PHILIP MASCOLL AND GABE GONDA, The Toronto Star
Amanda Stamp is safe and Ontario's most wanted man is in custody after a police chase in Ottawa's west end last night.
The 20-year-old woman, who police say was dragged by her hair at knifepoint from her Richmond Hill apartment on Sunday, was "traumatized and upset" but appeared not to be physically hurt.
"She'll be checked at hospital for dehydration, but my understanding is that she is in good shape physically," Ottawa police Staff Sergeant Dave Veinotte said.
Ricardo Alexander Lee, 28, the father of Stamp's son, was taken into custody, Veinotte said.
Lee has been charged with kidnapping, forcible confinement, assault with a weapon, uttering threats and possession of stolen property. He will be in Newmarket court for a hearing today.
Police said the arrest came after Stamp made a cellphone call from Ottawa's Bayshore Mall.
York Region Detective-Constable Jeff Bright said the call was made from inside a green SUV Lee had been driving.
A short chase ensued after officers who answered the call spotted the SUV with two people inside at 7:10 p.m. The man fled the vehicle as police approached.
Stamp was admitted into the care of the Ottawa police victims crisis unit last night as officers from the major crime unit spoke with Lee, police said.
York Region detectives were headed to Ottawa last night to bring her home.
Yesterday, Ontario Provincial Police reported a sighting of Stamp in Havelock, east of Peterborough, at 9:45 a.m.
On Tuesday, she was seen at a Shoppers Drug Mart off Highway 10 in Brampton. Later in the day, Stamp was reported inside a convenience store in Walkerton. On Monday, she was spotted at the Holiday Inn near Erin Mills Parkway and the QEW in Mississauga.
The rescue and arrest came after days of extensive media coverage, including two tearful pleas on TV by Stamp's mother, Katherine Lonergan.
Stamp and Lee were introduced by a friend four years ago in Scarborough and have been involved in what has been called a volatile relationship.
The couple had relocated to B.C. to try to get their lives together but had since split.
Lee was charged with child abduction after the couple's then 6-week-old son was taken from a Surrey apartment on April 9.
The child is now in foster care.
A Canada-wide warrant was issued for Lee on April 9 and three days later he surrendered to police with his son in Scarborough.
At the time, he was slapped with charges for offences alleged to have been committed before the couple left Toronto, including possession of a prohibited weapon and theft.
But while RCMP in B.C. had charged Lee with child abduction, break and enter, and assault, he wasn't forced to return to the province.
York police issued a warrant for him on Oct. 30 after death threats were allegedly uttered against Stamp.
On Nov. 9, Lee was tracked to a Niagara-area hotel room.
He was found to be in breach of probation for allegedly possessing a knife and was sentenced to 11 days in jail, but was released after serving only six.
On Sunday, York Region officers were on their way to arrest Lee at Niagara Detention Centre only to find that he had been released due to an administrative error.
Corrections Minister Monte Kwinter has ordered an investigation into Lee's release and hinted that Niagara jail guards could be disciplined.
"I'm upset. I'm furious," the minister said. "How could you possibly let someone go when you've been given two days' notice that he's going to be arrested?"