Kidnapped New Yorkers found near Magog

By Gordon Lambie

An American missing persons case turned into a story of cross-border kidnapping late in the day on Tuesday when the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) announced that 76-year-old James A. Helm Sr. and 70-year-old Sandra L. Helm of Moira, New York, were found near the Magog area. Three people who were holding the couple hostage were arrested at the scene, as well as two other people associated with the incidents in another part of the province. The couple were apparently unharmed.
According to Sgt. Claude Denis of the SQ, the Helms had gone missing on Sunday in their hometown just south of the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve. Although the case was being handled by the New York State Police, the provincial police force was called in to assist after suspicion arose that the couple might be on the Canadian side of the border.
A search was carried out on Wednesday of the property where the couple was being held.
Denis said that four of those arrested appeared in a Montreal court on charges of kidnapping and forcible confinement. The fifth was released after being arrested. Two of the individuals were from Montreal, two from Akwesasne, and one from Magog.
Although the individuals were arrested in Canada and appeared in court in Montreal, Denis underlined the fact that the SQ’s role in the ongoing investigation was a supporting one.
“We can’t speak to how they got across the border,” he said, noting that the international nature of the kidnapping meant that the FBI, the RCMP, the Akwesasne Mohawk Police, and a number of municipal police forces were all involved in the search.

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