Trucker flies home after learning daughter was kidnapped

| 5/23/2006

It was a day and-a-half of hell for a trucker and his family when 11-year-old Carmen Kados went missing, but they now have her back safe.

The girl was found alive after being kidnapped and held for 36 hours by a man authorities described as a transient in the sleepy British Columbia, Canada, town of Armstrong, population 4,600.

Her father, an over-the-road trucker, was in Ontario when his daughter went missing. He immediately flew back to British Columbia to learn police there feared the worst.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police say a child kidnapped by a sexual predator faces incredible odds against survival.

But at 5 a.m. on Thursday, May 18, not far from where she lived and where police say Paul Robert Lepage, 55, abducted her, Carmen was found. Lepage was not with her at the time police moved in, and police did not disclose the location.

Carmen had gone to the video store to rent “Chicken Little” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 16, and did not return home. Her scooter and the movie were found near the store.

A team of 70 searchers fanned out around the area combing for clues. Police said it was the first crime of its kind in Armstrong.

Lepage, who was arrested a short time after Carmen was found, is being held awaiting a hearing June 7. He has been charged with kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault.

Lepage has a criminal background, an RCMP official told news sources.

A Kados family relative acted as a spokeswoman for the family of the kidnapped girl, and the father could not be reached for comment.