Children believed to be part of a cult sent back home to Quebec
Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012 10:09PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 28, 2012 10:10PM EST
Ten Quebec children were sent home from British Columbia overnight after being taken in to youth protection amid fears they were involved in a cult.
The group, caught trying to cross the border into Canada, is believed to be part of a so-called cult run by ruined South Shore businessman Marcel Pontbriand.
The children are among those missing for two years after Pontbriend pled guilty to dozens of fraud charges, fled the province and took refuge in a small town in Arizona.
With him went several dozen Quebecers, including their children.
Pontbriand is alleged to be a type of cult leader who was predicting the end of the world would come on Dec. 12 of this year.
Concerns were voiced by Quebec youth protection services about the safety of the children taken, including fears of a possible communal suicide.
Late Monday night, a vanload of 12 children and two adults tried to cross into Canada through British Columbia.
Flagged by Canadian Border Security guards, B.C. youth protection services were contacted.
Ten of those children, aged two to seven years old, were flown back to Montreal overnight and handed into the custody of Quebec youth protection services.
Those children are all from Quebec.
Two of the 12 children stayed in B.C. with the adults; one of those adults is their father.
Two Quebec children are still considered missing.
The children taken into custody are being kept together in an undisclosed location and seen by a slew of nurses and psychologists looking into their physical and emotional state.
Youth protection said Wednesday that the children seem fine.
The question now remains what happens to the children going forward.
“The first principle of the Youth Protection Act is to return children to their parents,” said Jacky Roy of Quebec youth protection. “If that is not possible, then we have to look for significant persons around the children. We look at the extended family, then we look for foster family.”
Questions remains as to Marcel Pontbriand’s current whereabouts.
It's assumed he is still in Arizona, but the Surete du Quebec will not confirm if there's an active investigation into finding him.
U.S. police also won't say if they're looking for him.
Youth protection also spoke about returning the ten children to their parents, but said they didn’t know where the parents are.
Youth protection also either doesn't know or won’t reveal the identities of the two adults accompanying the children.
There was also no information available as to why this group was re-entering Canada or where they were headed.