DOJ: News Release

Canadian Man Arrested in Whitefish in Connection with Child Abduction

Canadian Man Arrested in Whitefish in Connection with Child Abduction

A Canadian man, Robert Barnett, was arrested in a vehicle in Whitefish, Montana, this morning at approximately 6:45 a.m. Barnett was the subject of an AMBER Alert that was issued by Canadian authorities yesterday, after he allegedly abducted his three-year-old son during a supervised visitation in Fernie, B.C.

Barnett crossed into the United States at the Port of Roosville near Eureka, MT. According to Undersheriff Dave Leib with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, on Thursday evening, Barnett approached a man at a bowling alley in Whitefish to ask for money and use of the man’s cell phone. During their conversation, the man agreed to buy Barnett breakfast in the morning and also told him he could sleep in his car outside the man’s house. This morning, when the man became aware that Barnett was the subject of the AMBER Alert broadcast throughout Montana last night, the man 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. That’s exactly what happened in this case,” Leib said.

Barnett was arrested without incident by officers from the Whitefish Police Department and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. The three-year-old boy was found unharmed and taken into the custody of the Division of Family Services in Kalispell, Montana.

“Thanks to the information that was broadcast by the Montana Department of Justice last night and an alert Whitefish resident, the suspect is in custody and the abducted child is now safe,” Attorney General Steve Bullock said. “The department would like to thank our Montana AMBER Alert Partners – the Montana Broadcasters Association, Montana Weather Service in Great Falls, the Montana Department of Transportation and the Montana Lottery – for their quick assistance in getting the word out.”

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