Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Patricia Joan O'Byrne.
Patricia Joan O'Byrne.

Toronto woman wanted for 1993 child abduction arrested in Victoria Add to ...

A father’s 18-year-ordeal is now over after his former common-law partner was arrested in Victoria for allegedly abducting their daughter in 1993.

RCMP had a warrant for Patricia Joan O’Byrne for child abduction since, after a custody dispute with the child’s father in 1993, she left a message that she was leaving the country with her daughter who was a year old at the time.

A police source said the Victoria force will hold a press conference on Friday morning with details.

Meanwhile, the girl’s father, Joe Chisholm, confirmed Ms. O’Byrne had been arrested in Victoria.

“I’m just so relieved, shocked and so delighted,” he told The Globe just hours after he found out his daughter, now 20, had been found.

“Her life has been turned upside down … I understand she’s grown up with an alias. I’m just going to give her the time she needs and let her reach out to us. I can’t even imagine what it was like for her to see her mother handcuffed and taken away.”

Mr. Chisholm has searched for his daughter in Britain and across Canada. The RCMP and Toronto police have also investigated the case.

“I don’t know what my daughter has been told about me … whether I was dead, or her mom didn’t know the father or I was demonized and they had to run away from me.”

He has repeatedly expressed in the past that his only wish was for his daughter to be reunited with the rest of her family, including her half-brother, Jesse Chisholm-Beatson, who was four years old at the time of her disappearance.

“I had my doubts if she would ever be found,” Mr. Chisholm-Beatson said. “My dad persisted when people told him the case really was not going anywhere, and that he should just move on with his life. But he never gave up.”

Mr. Chisholm-Beatson can’t remember much of his life with his half-sister. “But I remember sitting on the lawn and she pulled my hair [and]I didn’t like that … typical sibling stuff, I suppose” he said. “But I’m now really just curious to find out what she’s like … what kind of music she likes, what kind of movies, what kind of a person she is.”

Mr. Chisholm also said he is not interested in criminal charges against Ms. O’Byrne.

“I’ve always considered it a family issue, not a criminal matter,” he said.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story identified the abducted woman. Her name has been removed from this story and she can no longer be named because of a court-ordered ban on her identity.

In the know

Top videos »