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RCMP arrest neighbour of 12-year-old autistic boy found slain near his BC home

GRAND FORKS, B.C. - Police acting on a 911 call arrested a mentally ill woman Tuesday, hours after urging residents of this small community to be wary of her because a 12-year-old autistic boy living a few doors down was found slain in her home.

GRAND FORKS, B.C. - Police acting on a 911 call arrested a mentally ill woman Tuesday, hours after urging residents of this small community to be wary of her because a 12-year-old autistic boy living a few doors down was found slain in her home.

"Yes, we've located her," said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.

Kimberly Ruth Noyes was arrested without incident near the grounds of the local high school. Moskaluk said she's in custody and the investigation is ongoing.

No charges have been laid.

Earlier in the day, police warned the public to be on the lookout for the 42-year-old, who they said has bipolar disorder and could pose a danger.

"She is the primary resident of this residence and the body was found in her residence, so it would stand to reason that certainly she is being sought in connection with the investigation," Moskaluk said.

Noyes lives in the same townhouse complex as John Fulton, the boy whose body was discovered Monday evening after he vanished Saturday from the steps of his home.

He was described by neighbours as a happy, upbeat kid who enjoyed playing with the other children in the complex. He was looking forward to entering Grade 8 in the fall.

Neighbours planned to stage a vigil at the complex Tuesday night.

Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said Noyes was not considered "historically violent."

But in issuing the public warning Tuesday morning, he said she "does pose a threat to herself and possibly others due to her diagnosed state of mental health."

Vermeulen said Noyes was last seen riding a black mountain bike in the southern B.C. town.

A gas station attendant at a Shell convenience store said in an interview Noyes was in her shop Tuesday morning.

"She just grabbed a coffee and headed out the door," said Jody Dejong, adding she was unaware at the time that police were looking for Noyes.

Like other merchants in town, Dejong was given a poster with Noyes's picture on it but chose not to post it in hopes she would return.

A neighbour who lives in the same subsidized housing complex said Noyes had been depressed and was recently divorced.

"To me, she's a nice person," said the woman, adding Noyes has three children of her own.

She said she couldn't believe police were looking for Noyes, who worked part-time as a receptionist but not recently.

Dan Hejna, who also lives in the same complex near Noyes, said he would see her every couple of days at the gas station where he works.

"She always looked kind of depressed and sad and stuff like that," Hejna said.

Hejna said Fulton's death has hit residents of the housing complex hard.

"Everybody's really shocked," he said. "You know, small town, this stuff never really happens. Everybody's sitting outside and discussing the tragedy."

When reached by telephone, Noyes's former husband said he didn't want to talk and hung up.

Volunteers mounted a massive search for Fulton after he disappeared Saturday, but found no trace of him.

Brian Taylor, mayor of the community on the B.C.-U.S. border in the Kootenays, said Fulton lived in The Gables, a complex of subsidized townhouses near the local recreation centre.

"There was a search that went out from The Gables and all the other residential areas around, door to door," Taylor said.

"They were also searching the outer areas of the city. But it appears that John was right there in The Gables."

Taylor said people in the community are relieved Noyes is in custody.

"I think, you know, there's a lot of people out there that were as concerned for her," the mayor said.

"People are happy that there seems to be a conclusion to this, even though we need to respect the fact that she is innocent until proven guilty."

Gord Ihlen, chief of the Passmore Fire Department, who was in charge of the search effort, told the Grand Forks Gazette that police became suspicious because a resident in one of the units wasn't responding to knocks on her door.

He said several police cars arrived and surrounded the unit at about 7 p.m. on Monday night, about an hour before Fulton's body was found.

Nearby residents said they heard shouting as police entered the unit and were then told the search was over.

Moskaluk said officers had been to Noyes's home, among others, repeatedly, but he declined to provide further details.

The boy's mother, Christal Fulton, reported the boy missing from her front steps Saturday.

The search involved the RCMP, a dog team and a helicopter, and residents were told to check for Fulton in their backyards, sheds and motor homes.

Mounties said it's too early to discuss how the child died.

Taylor said the discovery of the boy's body has shaken area residents.

"Everybody here is in shock," he said .

"We pride ourselves on being a safe community. Children here walk to school and parents have a sense of comfort, and I think we're going to lose that."

Grief counsellors were being brought in to assist Fulton's family and friends.

Grand Forks is about 600 kilometres east of Vancouver, just north of the Washington State border, and is home to about 4,000 residents.

- By Camille Bains, James Keller and Sunny Dhillon in Vancouver

 
 
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