A prominent Canadian author has pleaded guilty after being accused of kidnapping her son and faking his and her own death. It informs the BBC, CBC and other servers.
Dawn Walker, an Aboriginal woman from Saskatchewan, was reported missing in the summer of 2022, prompting an extensive search. Two weeks later, she and her son were found safe in the US state of Oregon with false documents. The 49-year-old writer said at the time that she disappeared because she was fleeing domestic violence.
Police later charged her with nine crimes, including parental kidnapping, identity fraud and passport forgery.
She initially pleaded not guilty. However, she pleaded guilty to three charges in Saskatoon court on Thursday. Parental abduction in violation of a decision on child care, possession of a forged document and forgery of a passport.
Her lawyers and prosecutors asked the judge for a one-year suspended sentence followed by an 18-month probationary period. Judge Brad Mitchell must now decide on the final sentence.
Dawn Walker was originally reported missing by Saskatoon police on July 24, 2022. At the time, officers said she was last seen two days earlier on July 22. They said her Ford F-150 and some of her belongings were found in Chief White Park in Saskatchewan. The discovery fueled fears that the two were victims of crime.
After a two-week search that included searching the South Saskatchewan River, police announced on August 5, 2022 that Dawn was found safe and sound with her child more than 1,600 km away in Oregon City. They tracked her down by tracking bank transactions for gas, food, Netflix and Airbnb rentals.
The authorities did not protect her, she defends herself
US authorities arrested her and charged her with two counts of identity theft, one felony and one misdemeanor. She was then turned over to Canadian authorities, where she faced additional charges while her case in the US was put on hold. Walker was also temporarily jailed and her child was removed from her custody.
In a court application earlier this year, obtained by the BBC, Walker said she was a victim of domestic and intimate partner violence. According to her, the Saskatchewan authorities did not protect her. She released a statement to the media through her friend at the time, saying she had no choice. “Nobody heard me,” she said, apologizing to everyone she hurt.
“I am fighting against systems that do not protect me as an indigenous woman. On the contrary, it protects non-native men“, she added.
She added that she fled “because of her sincere belief that her child was in grave and imminent danger.” Her disappearance was “the last, most desperate attempt in a long series of fruitless attempts” to seek protection from the authorities.
She had been planning her disappearance for months
Saskatoon police said the previous allegations were “thoroughly investigated” and no charges were laid. She was released on bail, with a trial scheduled to begin on November 20 and run until January 2024, ahead of her guilty plea.
According to the Canadian CBC server, the writer had to plan her disappearance for months, according to court documents. She also carefully staged a “crime scene” that really looked like they were both murdered.
Dawn Walker, also known as Dawn Dumont, is an acclaimed Canadian author and Indigenous advocate whose career has spanned more than a decade.
While the police investigation into her case continued, her latest novel, The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour, was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, one of Canada’s oldest literary awards. She also studied law at Queen’s University in Ontario and ran for the federal parliament in the last Canadian election for the governing Liberal Party.