Sep. 10, 2004. 06:36 AM
|Missing Toronto boy Gavin Karpinski-MacIver, 7, was found in Austin, Texas.|
A lengthy undercover probe by a team of private investigators turned up evidence showing Gavin Karpinski-MacIver was living in a rented house in the university district in Austin.
Police in Austin set up surveillance at the home yesterday and spotted a woman and young boy matching the description of two individuals who have been sought by Toronto police since January, when they were told Gavin had gone missing.
It was Christmas Day, said the boy's father, Cameron MacIver, when he received a recorded telephone message saying he would never see his son again.
The boy's mother, Elwira (Vera) Karpinski, was sharing custody of Gavin with MacIver and was supposed to take him to his home for the Christmas holiday period, MacIver said.
Tom Klatt, a former Toronto homicide detective who heads MKD International, a private investigative agency, said Gavin was located after a seven-month undercover investigation.
"There was sporadic surveillance over a period of about six and a half to seven months," he said, adding investigators were keeping tabs on a relative of the mother who was making constant calls from public telephone booths.
Toronto police obtained telephone records indicating the person had called Texas, and Austin police worked with private detectives to stake out the area until the wanted woman was spotted.
At 5:30 p.m. yesterday, MacIver received a phone call from investigators in Texas saying his son was safe.
"I was ecstatic," he said last night. "I am so relieved. I am so glad Gavin is safe."
Moments later, MacIver said he received another call and Gavin was on the line. "When I picked up the phone, his first words were `Hi, Dad,'" MacIver said. "He told me he was fine and that he knew I was coming to get him."
MacIver is making arrangements to travel to Texas today.
Gavin disappeared before he had a chance to open Christmas presents that MacIver and his new wife, Christine, had bought for him. He said they are waiting for him on his return.
Although the boy's mother was taken into custody, she was released a short time later, since the warrant issued by Toronto police charging her with abduction was issued only for her arrest in Canada.
Police said she will be arrested if she returns to this country.