David James Leblanc, 47, is wanted by police in Nova Scotia on charges of forcible confinement and sexual assault.
Credits: Police handout
HALIFAX - One of two Nova Scotia men accused in the chained confinement and sexual assault of a teen boy has been arrested in northern Ontario, provincial police said.
David James Leblanc, 47, was spotted on a logging road about 260 km north east of Thunder Bay on Sunday night.
"We had a tip from the public that there was a dishevelled or distressed man in the area, and the constables recognized the male from the RCMP fan-outs as being Mr. Leblanc," Sgt. Carl Pettigrew of the Ontario Provincial Police Greenstone detachment told QMI Agency. "Mr. Leblanc spent a great deal of time in the bush, in the elements."
Leblanc made a video court appearance in Thunder Bay, but RCMP in Nova Scotia are still working out the details of how and when he will be transferred back to that province to face his charges. RCMP said it could use a police aircraft to fly him out of the remote region.
A national manhunt is still on for a second suspect - Wayne Alan Cunningham, 31.
Police believe the pair were travelling together before Leblanc was dropped off in the remote area in northern Ontario.
Police in Nova Scotia believe Cunningham is headed west, possibly to Calgary. He could still be driving a grey 2003 Hyundai Elantra, licence plate FBP 233.
Family members in Nova Scotia told local media that the two men have been living as a common-law couple for about 10 years and that Cunningham can disguise himself as a woman.
Sources tell QMI Agency that he has shaved his head.
Both men are charged with forcible confinement and sexual assault after a 16-year-old boy told police he was snatched off of the street in Halifax and driven to a rural cabin in Upper Chelsea, N.S.
The nearly naked teen told neighbours he was chained up and raped for about two weeks before he managed to escape, shuffling barefoot down a 2 km gravel road at night to beg for help.
Neighbour Terry Frauzel was horrified when he saw the chains around the young man's ankles and wrists, padlocked together, and he cut them with his bolt cutters.
"I will never get that image out of my mind. I can't believe someone would chain up a person like that," Frauzel told QMI Agency. "He was so grateful to be free, I just wanted to do anything I could to help him."
Frauzel said the teen told him he had overheard his captors speculating about selling him when they were finished with him.
Leblanc and Cunningham have rap sheets for crimes they were convicted of together, including breaking and entering, fraud and forgery. Leblanc was also awaiting trail on charges of sexual assault of a two-year-old and a five-year-old boy in different towns in Nova Scotia, along with production of child pornography charges. He was due back in court this coming November.
Residents and councillors at the Halifax rape crisis centre are outraged that Leblanc was not held in custody while accused of such crimes, and was instead released back into the community.
"I was shocked and horrified to hear the allegations," Gerald Keddy, MP for South Shore-St. Margaret's, said in a release. "I stand with fellow Nova Scotians in hopes that these two individuals are brought to justice with the full force of the law."
Keddy said changes to the Criminal Code that came into force "toughened penalties for all sexual offences against children by eliminating the use of house arrest and increasing existing mandatory penalties."
The federal government has not specified if those changes affect those awaiting trial or only those who have been convicted.