WHITEFISH – A Canadian man who allegedly abducted his 3-year-old son was arrested here early Friday morning after authorities issued an Amber Alert and a member of the public turned him in.
Robert Barnett became the subject of a manhunt after authorities in Fernie, B.C., reported that he abducted his son during a supervised visitation there.
He crossed into the United States at the Port of Roosville near Eureka, according to Flathead County Undersheriff Dave Leib, and on Thursday evening asked to borrow money from a man at a bowling alley in Whitefish. Barnett also asked to use the man’s phone, Leib said.
During their conversation, the stranger offered to buy Barnett breakfast in the morning and allowed him to sleep in his car outside the man’s house.
When the man realized Barnett was named in an Amber Alert broadcast across Montana, he called 9-1-1.
“The Amber Alert program was designed to allow law enforcement to get the word out quickly to neighboring communities and to involve as many officers and citizens as possible in the search effort,” Leib said. “That’s exactly what happened in this case.”
Barnett was arrested without incident by officers and deputies from the Whitefish Police Department and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, and the 3-year-old boy, who was unharmed, was taken into the custody of the Division of Family Services in Kalispell.
Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock commended the Department of Justice and other Amber Alert partners for helping to spread the word.
“Thanks to the information that was broadcast … and an alert Whitefish resident, the suspect is in custody and the abducted child is now safe,” Bullock said.
Reporter Tristan Scott can be reached at (406) 531-9745 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.