It’s been more than 3 years since Lauren Etchells boarded a flight out of Canada with her young daughter Kaydance, her then new partner Marco van der Merwe and their newborn son Marcus. In doing this, Lauren violated a court order intended to protect the rights of Kaydance and her other mother, Tasha Brown.
Shortly after Lauren left Canada with Kaydance, Tasha Brown contacted Saanich Police and the General Investigative Unit took on the investigation into the parental abduction of Kaydance. Over the course of this file, officers conducted countless interviews, partnered with multiple agencies worldwide, and used innumerable techniques in an effort to locate Kaydance.
While investigators worked on the file from their end, Tasha Brown took to social media and tirelessly engaged in her own search for her daughter. Through each stream of this investigation, Saanich Police learned that Lauren, along with Kaydance and Marcus, travelled from Canada to England, to France, to the Netherlands, to the Middle East and possibly to Spain and Portugal. At some point, she broke off her relationship with Marco and continued to move about Europe with Kaydance and her son Marcus using their UK passports.
With Lauren’s repeated movement between countries, a Red Notice was published by INTERPOL, which is essentially an international flag that the person is Wanted. This flag is what has brought an end to her flight from justice.
On July 1st, Saanich Police received a call from the RCMP Liaison Office in London, England advising that Lauren, Kaydance, Marcus and Lauren’s parents Brian and Angela Etchells, had been picked up by the States of Jersey Police and Jersey Customs and Immigration Service. The group was spotted landing a 13 foot inflatable dinghy on the shores just south of St. Catherine, Jersey, a small island in the English Channel. When questioned as to their plans, they advised they were holidaying in France and decided to pop over to Jersey for a visit. None of the 5 passengers had passports and it quickly became apparent to officials that their story did not add up.
When the Jersey Police learned of their identities, they believed the group may have been attempting to get to the UK via Jersey in order to avoid passport control on UK soil. The 3 adults, Lauren and her parents, were arrested for offences relating to child neglect and immigration. All 3 have pled guilty in relation to these Jersey charges, with Lauren remaining in custody as a result of a provisional arrest warrant for her extradition to Canada. The 2 children, Kaydance and Marcus, were apprehended and have been placed in foster care while the complexities of this international investigation are worked through.
“We are extremely pleased to report that 4 year old Kaydance has been located and is in the care of the appropriate authorities in Jersey. She is in good health, is happy and appears to have been well cared for” said Sgt. Julie Fast, Public Information Officer for the Saanich Police.
The process of bringing Kaydance and Lauren back to Canada has now begun but it will take time. Our investigators are committed to working through the scope and intricacies of these next steps, and are thankful for the excellent support provided by all our partnering agencies.
With the news that Kaydance has been located, Tasha Brown provided the following message to be shared with those in the community:
“I am extremely grateful to learn that she is in good health and good care.
I am celebrating today. Kaydance is alive, and we know where she is! But I can’t celebrate 100% yet. Not until Kaydance is back in Canada.
It is for this reason that I am spending today with my lawyer, and the various other agencies involved in bringing Kaydance home safely and…SOON!! But there is a lot I still need to do.
For now, I wish to thank some of the people and agencies that have helped, including: Elisabeth Strain and the Saanich Police Department for their devotion to this case, along with Global Affairs Canada and the Central Authorities in Victoria, BC and London, UK. Today would not be happening without these special people.
I am also grateful for the love I received from the friends and family who kept me going during the lowest of lows.
I guess a person can survive on hope. Thank you all for this reminder.
Much love from Tasha Brown”
**Below is a picture of the dinghy the group landed in Jersey, along with the media release published by the States of Jersey Police**