A tip from the Missing Children Society of Canada led to the arrest of a fugitive on the run for five years with her two abducted children.
Anisa Mohamed Ibrahim, 35, was arrested in Hamilton on August 13 by the Toronto Police Fugitive Squad. She was wanted for the unlawful abduction of her sons and disobeying a court order in Manchester, England.
It’s alleged that she fled England and travelled to Germany before entering Canada in April 2010.
“We received an initial request from Greater Manchester Police in April 2010 as they believed she had fled to Canada,” said Detective Andrew Lawson, of the Fugitive Squad. “We did some checks and realized she flew into Pearson International Airport in Toronto that same month.”
Ibrahim went underground and police received five tips between the time she entered Canada and January 2015.
“In January, we received a tip that she might be in Calgary or Manitoba,” said Lawson. “We followed up but nothing came out of those checks.”
Two weeks ago, police got their big break.
“We got a tip that a female with two children fitting our suspect’s description may be in Hamilton and we went out there and did some surveillance,” he said. “It was her and we made an arrest under the strength of an extradition warrant.”
Lawson said the suspect seemed relieved that her time on the run was over.
“After a bit of denial at first as to who she really was, she told us what her real name was and her head sort of dropped,” he said. “She was a bit confused, asking questions like, “Do I pack things for the kids? Can I get them a drink?’ I think she knew the gig was up and there seemed to be a sense of relief that she didn’t have to run anymore. She was 100 per cent cooperative and the arrest went better than we thought.”
Lawson said Ibrahim and her children were residing in Hamilton for the last three years, under assumed names. At the time of her arrest, she was on social assistance and living in a one-bedroom apartment with two beds.
Lawson is convinced she received help during the five years she was in Canada.
“There is no doubt in my mind that somebody or some group helped her while she was here,” he pointed out. “There is no way she can come to Canada and just disappear. It’s not easy for a mother and two children to hide here in plain view.”
He said the five-year Toronto Police investigation concluded with Ibrahim’s arrest.
Lawson said TPS received help from the Canadian Border Services Agency in their investigation.
“They were very helpful in identifying who she really was,” he added.
The accused, who is also facing immigration charges for illegally entering Canada, is in police custody while her two children – ages 9 and 11 – are in child protection care.
If Ibrahim waives extradition, she could be removed from Canada and returned to England in two months. If she chooses to fight extradition, it could take up to five years before she’s removed.
“In my three-and-a-half years with the Fugitive Squad, there is just one extradition that I have seen someone fight and win,” said Lawson. “It’s very expensive to fight extradition, which is not covered by Legal Aid.”
The children’s fate is in a Family Court judge’s hands.
“They are permanent residents of Canada under their fake names,” Lawson said. “They have to vacate that status and that can take up to three years. Up until that time, they are considered Canadians, so you just can’t remove them. It will take a court order to do that. The authorities in England wanted to fly the father over here to get the kids, but we had to explain to them that it doesn’t work that way. It’s going to be up to a judge, here, to decide whether the father is fit or the mom is not fit and everything else, even though she’s in custody.”