Kamloops woman, children recovering from weekend kidnapping

Recovering from kidnapping

A Kamloops woman and her two children are recovering after a horrific kidnapping incident over the weekend that saw the suspect shot dead by police.

The incident, involving the woman's former partner, occurred on Sunday afternoon. The woman called 911 from a vehicle on the Trans-Canada Highway just before 5:30 p.m.

A short time later, a family member reported to police that the woman and her four-year-old child had been abducted by the woman's former partner and father of her children. The woman's other 11-year-old child managed to escape.

The suspect has been identified as Matthew Gustafson.

Police say he brought the woman and child to a rural property near Walhachin, northwest of Kamloops, and Kamloops RCMP and Emergency Response Team officers attended the scene shortly before 9 p.m. Gustafson had barricaded himself inside a trailer on the property with the woman and young child.

RCMP spokeswoman Dawn Roberts says Gustafson left the trailer at about 3 a.m. on Monday armed with a weapon and carrying the child.

“During the engagement with officers, the man was shot and killed,” Roberts said. “The child was uninjured and a woman was subsequently located with non-life-threatening injuries inside the trailer.”

Police then attended Gustafson's home and found a second woman bound inside, suffering from injuries. Both women were taken to the hospital for treatment.

The family of the woman who was kidnapped have set up a GoFundMe page to help support her and her two children, while they recover from the traumatic incident.

“Thankfully they are all OK but there is a lot of physical and emotional healing to be done,” the GoFundMe page states.

“We would like to make this time as easy as possible for them and help cover some of the day-to-day expenses so they can spend this time together with no worries.”

The fundraiser has a goal of $10,000 and as of Wednesday, close to $5,000 has been raised for single mother and her children.

B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office, the province’s police watchdog agency, is now investigating the police response to the incident. The IIO investigates all police-related incidents that result in serious injury or death.

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