[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 19 February, 2004, 12:01 GMT
US teen 'discovers own kidnap'
Computer user
The boy may have looked up his name out of curiosity
Police in California have arrested a Canadian woman after her teenage son discovered from a website that he was allegedly abducted as a child.

Orey Steinmann, 17, told a teacher at his Los Angeles area school he had found his picture while browsing on a Canadian missing child website.

The teacher called the authorities, who arrested his mother for kidnapping.

She is alleged to have abducted her son from Canada 14 years ago after losing a custody battle with his father.

Gisele Marie Johnson - also known as Gisele Marie Goudreault - from Alberta, Canada, reportedly fled to Mexico before resurfacing on the US west coast with her son.

She is being held without bail until the Canadian authorities can extradite her on child abduction charges, for which she could face up to 10 years in prison.

Local shock

Both mother and son appear to have led unassuming lives in their California home.

I'm sure that the kid did not know he was opening up a can of worms... He loved his mother and she loved him
Neighbour Rina Rio
Orey attended school and worked in a local fish emporium, while Ms Johnson worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District and also cleaned homes for extra funds, the Associated Press news agency reported.

It is not clear how Orey came across his name on the Alberta Child Find website, but some reports suggested he had typed his name into the popular search engine Google out of curiosity.

Neighbours said it was no secret that Orey had no contact with his father, but expressed shock at Ms Johnson's arrest.

"I was absolutely shocked and devastated to hear something like this and then - most of all - to know that he discovered it himself," neighbour Rina Rio told the French AFP news agency.

"I'm sure the kid didn't know he was opening up a can of worms. He loved his mother and she loved him."

Father's concern

The teenager is currently in a foster home. It is thought he may be returned to Canada to his father, Rodney Steinmann, who retains legal custody.

Mr Steinmann told AP he was anxious to re-establish contact with his son.

"There is a whole family here [in Canada] that has always cared for him," he said.

"He has got cousins, aunts and uncles and we would like to open the line of communication and start talking."


SEE ALSO:
Google date test 'nets US fugitive'
30 Jan 04  |  Americas
'Miserable failure' links to Bush
07 Dec 03  |  Americas


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific