Winnipeg dad pleads guilty to abducting his kids in Mexico

Kevin Maryk has pleaded guilty to abducting his children Abby and Dominic. He will be sentenced on...

Kevin Maryk has pleaded guilty to abducting his children Abby and Dominic. He will be sentenced on Monday. (FILE PHOTO)

Kristin Annable, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:19 PM ET

WINNIPEG -- A Winnipeg man who kidnapped his children and fled to Mexico, sparking a nearly four-year manhunt, pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of child abduction.

Kevin Maryk and his children went missing in 2008 while on a court-approved two-week vacation. At the time, Dominic was only seven and Abby was six.

The kidnapping attracted international attention, and the children's disappearance was profiled by America's Most Wanted.

Police tracked Maryk down in May 2012 when a tip from a neighbour led Mexican police to a heavily fortified home in Guadalajara where the kids were found. Cops raided the home and arrested Maryk and co-accused Robert Groen, then reunited the kids with their mother shortly thereafter.

Wilhelm von Mayer, a private investigator who worked on the case, told QMI Agency in 2012 a neighbour watched a show about the children's abduction on Mexican television and became suspicious.

"They didn't go to school. They were locked up all day," von Mayer said. "There were security cameras in the house, pointing out to the gate. That made (the neighbour) suspicious. So when he saw the kids on the TV show, that's when he reported it to the authorities."

Maryk, 42, appeared briefly in court Thursday.

In exchange for his guilty plea, the Crown stayed three other charges, including charges stemming from his attempts while incarcerated to make contact with his children.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Monday, where the Crown will be asking for five years in jail. Defence lawyer Todd Bourcier said he'll be asking for two years, with credit for time already served.

Bourcier said his client was "feeling fine" when he entered the plea and is anxious to deal with the matter on Monday.

Groen was sentenced earlier this month to one year in jail for his role. A third suspect, Cody John McKay -- Maryk's nephew -- has yet to be apprehended.

The case against McKay's parents, Darlene and Bradley, also remains before the courts. The couple were charged, months after the kids' safe return, with abduction by concealment and obstructing justice in connection with the case.

kristin.annable@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @kristinannable


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