Kids taken in seconds when truck stolen from parking lot in central B.C.

“I just felt dead inside,” says mom of kids abducted from Barriere mall

Every parent’s nightmare became a reality in the small central B.C. community of Barriere in early January.

“If you need a reminder to never leave your kids in the vehicle, no matter how quick you think you’re gonna be it’s never quick enough,” posted Barriere resident Tierra Hammer on Facebook.

“Today I could have lost mine to a crackhead who needed a vehicle so bad she didn’t care my babies were inside. Please spare me the guilt trips and s***y comments. None of us are perfect. I just wanted to share our story to potentially save the other children I always see left in the car.”

Tierra told the Star/Journal the family was packed in their pickup truck for ice fishing, with the kids all bundled in their snow gear.

A quick stop at the grocery store to buy something for lunch and then off on an adventure. However, things didn’t turn out the way they had planned.

“I never leave my babies, but the one time I do, in just a few seconds they were gone,” said the mom.

Tierra says she had left the children in the vehicle with their dad, Mike, while she ran into the grocery store. As she was about to leave the store Mike called on her cell and asked if she was on her way out, which she was. He then left the truck for a quick dash into the drug store.

“As I was coming out of AG Foods I saw my truck leaving the parking lot with a strange woman!” said Hammer.

“And my babies were inside! This was in just a matter of seconds! I was just dead inside!”

Dad also came out of the drug store, and the alarm was raised. People who had seen the truck leave and which way it had gone rallied to help, and the police were called.

Both parents took off in another vehicle to chase the truck which was going north on Barriere Town Road towards the Legion, where it then turned around and retraced its route going south on Barriere Town Road. At this point Mike blocked the vehicle with his and the woman driver pulled quickly into the Liquor Store parking lot and tried to flee from the scene.

“Mike took her down,” said Tierra. “And then the police arrived! I was so happy to see my babies!”

Tierra says her children are four and six years old and have come through the experience unhurt and well. She tells that after the event her daughter told them that the strange woman had just jumped into the truck as soon as Mike was gone and quickly drove the car out of the parking lot.

“My daughter asked her as she drove out onto the road what was she doing, and at that point I think the woman realized there were kids in the truck. She then said to my daughter ‘don’t worry I’ll take you back.’ She turned around at the Legion and then my husband blocked her at the liquor store.”

Tierra said the police have advised her that the woman was not from B.C., but just passing through. She had no prior offences, but “was really bad into drugs.”

She said the police also told her that the woman is presently under very heavy house arrest until she goes for sentencing which will give her time to find a lawyer. Tierra says the woman has been charged with two counts of kidnapping and one of theft of a vehicle. She is also not allowed within 25 km of Barriere.

“She could get over four years in jail,” said Tierra, “The sentence for kidnapping a child is 18 months for each child and then there is the theft of the car that could also be 18 months.”

Tierra said this was the worst thing to ever happen to her.

“I always lock the door. I just want everyone to be aware that no matter how safe you think it is – it isn’t. People do bad things when they get into drugs.”

Editor’s note: Thank you to the Hammer family for sharing their terrible experience in the hopes that it will be a learning experience for all, and will prevent this from ever happening again to another parent.

Just Posted

Parksville artist aims to produce zero waste with creations, business

Margie Preninger even dabbled with dryer lint years ago

RDN dealing with high interest in backyard cannabis production

New policy proposed to address challenges with Health Canada licences

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Jeep bursts into flames on highway near Nanoose Bay

Emergency crews responded to blaze at approximately 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Most Read