(File photo)

(File photo)

B.C. child-killer’s escorted-leave ‘beyond disappointing’: victim’s mother

Shane Ertmoed was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2000 death of 10-year-old Heather Thomas

The mother of a Surrey 10-year-old who was abducted and killed in October 2000 says she is “beyond disappointed” that her daughter’s killer has been granted escorted leaves from custody.

Jody Aspin said the decision regarding Shane Ertmoed was made Tuesday (May 4), following a virtual parole board hearing.

“Clearly, watching him today, all he was concerned about was what he could get for himself. He showed no remorse. Not an ounce,” Aspin said.

Ertmoed is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in connection with Heather’s death. The youngster was playing outside with some children during a stay at her father’s townhouse complex in Cloverdale when a neighbour convinced her to go inside his apartment.

When Ertmoed tried to sexually assault Heather, she struggled and he killed her. Her body was found weeks later in Alouette Lake.

Ertmoed was found guilty in 2002, and handed a life sentence with no chance of parole until 2027.

Aspin said Tuesday that following Ertmoed’s conviction, no one told her that he could be applying for day parole on a regular basis – “which he did, the entire time,” she said.

(Parole Board of Canada officials clarified that offenders may apply for Escorted Temporary Absences at any time in their sentence. Ertmoed is not eligible for day parole, however, until Nov. 3, 2022, followed by full parole eligibility as of Nov. 3, 2025. His sentence does not expire.)

“So at no point has myself or my family been able to even try and start to heal, because he feels that he should be allowed outside jail.”

In a statement read during the hearing and shared that afternoon with Peace Arch News, Aspin told the board that Ertmoed, now 43, “not only took my daughter’s life, he took mine.”

She said Ertmoed’s rights died with her daughter and appealed to the board to stop allowing him to continue victimizing her and her family.

“I wake up and go to work and that’s all I can do,” Aspin told Peace Arch News. “I think about her from the moment I wake up till the moment I go to bed.”

According to Rebecca Darnell, a Langley lawyer who attended Tuesday’s hearing to support Aspin – with whom she developed a friendship through the ordeal of Heather’s disappearance and murder – Ertmoed asked for escorted leaves from William Head Institution in Victoria “for the purpose of assisting his rehabilitation and reintegration into the community.”

“He wants to work at non-profits,” Darnell said. “I was not aware that that was part of the plan and, in fact, the victims were not aware of the plan.”

Darnell said other information disclosed during the hearing that concerned her included that Ertmoed did not participate in any programs during the first decade of his incarceration, and that he hadn’t considered medication to reduce his sex drive and manage his risk level because he is still young enough to have a family.

About about being a murderer, Ertmoed told the board “he was not proud of what happened to Heather,” Darnell said.

Darnell said she was not convinced that Ertmoed was sincere.

“I get that we don’t lock people up, we don’t throw away the key, we don’t hang them,” she said. “This guy, when I heard him, I just could not detect any credible empathy from him. He was controlled and he was deliberate. He shared as much as he was forced to share.”

Heather’s childhood best friend also gave a statement to the board, sharing the lasting impact that her friend’s death had on her own life, and her concerns for the community’s safety should Ertmoed be allowed out.

Katherine Charette told PAN she found the board’s decision to grant Ertmoed’s application “really shocking,” and said Ertmoed’s expressions of regret don’t hold up.

“I feel if he was truly sorry… he wouldn’t ask for this,” she said. “He would sit and do his time till the day he died.”

Darnell said Ertmoed’s escorted leaves are to take effect after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and be in effect from Monday to Friday, for no more than eight hours per day, for a period of one year.

Parole board officials said such escorted leaves are approved/authorized when it is considered that the offender “will not present an undue risk during the absence.”



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HomicideSurrey

Just Posted

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation planning ground analysis of land near former residential school

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Free boxes of fresh produce are currently being provided in Quesnel by the Canadian Mental Health Association of Northern BC thanks to a donation from West Fraser Mills. (File photo)
Fresh produce available for those in need in Quesnel

Donation allows Canadian Mental Health Association to provide free fruits and veggies

Elizabeth Pete is a survivor of St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
WATCH: Kamloops bound convoy greeted by Canim Lake Band along Highway 97

Well over two dozen members of the Tsq’escenemc people (Canim Lake Band) showed up

Five rehabilitated grizzly bears were released this month into the Bella Coola area. The Northern Lights Wildlife Society will also be delivering 36 black bears to areas across the province where they were previously found. “They’re ready to go and they’re already trying to get out,” says Angelika Langen. “We feel good when we can make that possible and they don’t have to stay behind fences for the rest of their lives.” (Northern Lights Wildlife Society Facebook photo)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read