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Mother of 'missing' 10-year-old girl arrested in B.C. Add to ...

The mother at the centre of a cross-country custody dispute that gained considerable attention when the child in the matter ran away from her Vancouver home and called 911 has been arrested.

Araceli Bravo was detained by Vancouver Police at an undisclosed location in the city. Montreal police are expected to arrive Wednesday to escort her back to Quebec.

Police in B.C. were acting on a Canada-wide warrant for abduction in contravention of a custody order, said Constable Jana McGuinness, a spokeswoman for Vancouver Police.

The arrest was "uneventful," Constable McGuinness said, noting that police in Vancouver acted on information from their counterparts in Montreal. She declined to be more specific.

Constable Yannick Ouimet of the Montreal force said he could not comment on the information supplied to B.C. police. "We never reveal our tactics," he said Tuesday, noting that he had not even heard about the arrest of Ms. Bravo until told about it by a reporter.

Ashley Gonis, 10, turned up at a Vancouver SkyTrain station last month and called 911 suggesting that she was being abused at home.

Police dismissed that suggestion. Ashley's Montreal-based father, Frank Gonis, had been looking for her for two years after Ms. Bravo allegedly kidnapped her in a custody dispute. Although Montreal police had issued an arrest warrant for Ms. Bravo, it was enforceable only in Quebec until recently.

Mr. Gonis, a home renovator, said Tuesday that his focus now is on his daughter.

"Ashley is coming home. That's all that's important," he said in an interview. He said he expected his daughter, now under government supervision in B.C., would be placed in foster care when she is returned to Quebec while decisions are made about how to proceed.

"I know she's mixed up," he said.

Mr. Gonis travelled to B.C. after his daughter turned up, but the custody dispute with Ms. Bravo continued in the courts and he was unable to see Ashley.

"It didn't go well," he said.

He noted that authorities lost track of his former partner after the hearing, until Tuesday.

Mr. Gonis said he never gave up due to concern about his daughter.

"I knew I could offer her a lot," he said.

As for Ms. Bravo, he added, "she'll have to go before the courts and we'll see what happens."

 

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