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Kelowna  

Snatcher sent to psych ward

Alanna Kelly

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.

A man accused of grabbing a child and stripping naked in front of a large crowd is being sent to a forensic psychiatric hospital to be assessed.

Giffen Nyren, a 30-year-old Calgary man, has been charged with assault and willfully resisting or obstructing an officer, stemming from the Sunday incident.

He was rolled into the courtroom in a wheelchair, wearing a bright teal hospital gown for his first court appearance. 

Nyren’s right foot was wrapped in a bandage and he appeared disheveled and in a daze as he sat in court. 

His lawyer Grant Gray says a more comprehensive assessment of Nyren's mental condition is going to be undertaken.

“The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether or not that it may be the case that at the time this incident occurred Mr. Nyren was suffering from a mental illness such that he might not be criminally responsible for what happened,” said Gray. 

Nyren's mother was in the courtroom and she shook her head in disbelief as the details of Sunday's event were read to the court. 

On Sunday, a woman was standing with her family near the Ogopogo statue when a stranger grabbed her baby from her arms. 

Witness recount the woman going berserk and yelling “my baby, my baby!”

The man was wrestled to the ground by a group of strangers, broke free, tore off his clothing and jumped in Okanagan Lake. 

Witness Sheridan Primson, who watched the incident, says "the guy who grabbed the baby said ‘I thought the baby was going to be hurt.’”

Police say the baby was unharmed and was returned to the parents. 

The former Kamloops Blazers Defenceman played five years in the Western Hockey League, and also played in the American Hockey League for the Abbotsford Heat in the 2010 season and at the University of Calgary. He started this past hockey season in a French professional league. 

Nyren will remain in Port Coquitlam at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital for further assessment and will next appear in court on May 15 at 9:30 a.m.


ORIGINAL: 9:15 a.m.

A man who allegedly grabbed a baby, was wrestled to the ground, stripped naked and jumped into Okanagan Lake is expected to have his first court appearance on Wednesday.

The series of strange events unfolded on Sunday at Kelowna’s Kerry Park in front of a large crowd of people. A mother started screaming 'my baby, my baby' after a man walked up to her and grabbed her baby from her arms.

Witnesses watched as a group of people tackled the man to the ground and got the baby back to the mother unharmed. The man then walked down the pier, tore off his clothing and swam across the lake to a log boom. He was eventually arrested, naked, by police.

Former Kamloops Blazers defenceman and international pro hockey player Giffen Nyren, 30, of Calgary, has been charged in the disturbing incident.

RCMP arrested Nyren on Sunday and he is believed to have been in hospital ever since the bizarre baby snatching.

Nyren is charged with assault and willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer. He is expected to appear in court at 9:30 a.m.



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