(File photo)

(File photo)

B.C. child-killer’s escorted-leave ‘beyond disappointing’: victim’s mother

Shane Ertmoed was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2000 death of 10-year-old Heather Thomas

The mother of a Surrey 10-year-old who was abducted and killed in October 2000 says she is “beyond disappointed” that her daughter’s killer has been granted escorted leaves from custody.

Jody Aspin said the decision regarding Shane Ertmoed was made Tuesday (May 4), following a virtual parole board hearing.

“Clearly, watching him today, all he was concerned about was what he could get for himself. He showed no remorse. Not an ounce,” Aspin said.

Ertmoed is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in connection with Heather’s death. The youngster was playing outside with some children during a stay at her father’s townhouse complex in Cloverdale when a neighbour convinced her to go inside his apartment.

When Ertmoed tried to sexually assault Heather, she struggled and he killed her. Her body was found weeks later in Alouette Lake.

Ertmoed was found guilty in 2002, and handed a life sentence with no chance of parole until 2027.

Aspin said Tuesday that following Ertmoed’s conviction, no one told her that he could be applying for day parole on a regular basis – “which he did, the entire time,” she said.

(Parole Board of Canada officials clarified that offenders may apply for Escorted Temporary Absences at any time in their sentence. Ertmoed is not eligible for day parole, however, until Nov. 3, 2022, followed by full parole eligibility as of Nov. 3, 2025. His sentence does not expire.)

“So at no point has myself or my family been able to even try and start to heal, because he feels that he should be allowed outside jail.”

In a statement read during the hearing and shared that afternoon with Peace Arch News, Aspin told the board that Ertmoed, now 43, “not only took my daughter’s life, he took mine.”

She said Ertmoed’s rights died with her daughter and appealed to the board to stop allowing him to continue victimizing her and her family.

“I wake up and go to work and that’s all I can do,” Aspin told Peace Arch News. “I think about her from the moment I wake up till the moment I go to bed.”

According to Rebecca Darnell, a Langley lawyer who attended Tuesday’s hearing to support Aspin – with whom she developed a friendship through the ordeal of Heather’s disappearance and murder – Ertmoed asked for escorted leaves from William Head Institution in Victoria “for the purpose of assisting his rehabilitation and reintegration into the community.”

“He wants to work at non-profits,” Darnell said. “I was not aware that that was part of the plan and, in fact, the victims were not aware of the plan.”

Darnell said other information disclosed during the hearing that concerned her included that Ertmoed did not participate in any programs during the first decade of his incarceration, and that he hadn’t considered medication to reduce his sex drive and manage his risk level because he is still young enough to have a family.

About about being a murderer, Ertmoed told the board “he was not proud of what happened to Heather,” Darnell said.

Darnell said she was not convinced that Ertmoed was sincere.

“I get that we don’t lock people up, we don’t throw away the key, we don’t hang them,” she said. “This guy, when I heard him, I just could not detect any credible empathy from him. He was controlled and he was deliberate. He shared as much as he was forced to share.”

Heather’s childhood best friend also gave a statement to the board, sharing the lasting impact that her friend’s death had on her own life, and her concerns for the community’s safety should Ertmoed be allowed out.

Katherine Charette told PAN she found the board’s decision to grant Ertmoed’s application “really shocking,” and said Ertmoed’s expressions of regret don’t hold up.

“I feel if he was truly sorry… he wouldn’t ask for this,” she said. “He would sit and do his time till the day he died.”

Darnell said Ertmoed’s escorted leaves are to take effect after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and be in effect from Monday to Friday, for no more than eight hours per day, for a period of one year.

Parole board officials said such escorted leaves are approved/authorized when it is considered that the offender “will not present an undue risk during the absence.”



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HomicideSurrey

Just Posted

(File photo)
Crime report: Crooks busy pilfering bikes throughout Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Thefts among 295 complaints Oceanside RCMP deal with in one-week period

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue logo on the back of a service vehicle. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville and Qualicum Beach provide letters of support for Arrowsmith Search and Rescue

ASAR asks for increase in funding, one-time capital grant and for RDN to buy out current facility

The proposed running track upgrade at Ballenas Secondary is now on course. (PQB News file photo)
RDN: Parksville track upgrade project gains some traction

Staff recommends board approve $204,000 funding

The total earnings of Town of Qualicum Beach council and mayor amounted to $186,649 in 2020, including expenses. (Town of Qualicum Beach photo)
Nine Qualicum Beach town employees earned more than $100K in 2020

Mayor and council received earnings totalling $186,649

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Most Read