Life is nothing but pain and sorrow for Tasha Brown, a local mom who came forward with a tale of parental abduction on Monday.
Brown is desperate to reconnect with her two-year-old daughter Kaydance Etchells, who police say was abducted by Brown’s estranged wife, 31-year-old Lauren Ann Etchells, on May 8. Saanich Police is working with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and Interpol in trying to apprehend Etchells. A Canada-wide warrant was issued for Etchells on June 8. She has been red-flagged internationally and, if caught, will be detained for extradition.
“In 2015, Etchells obtained a secondary birth certificate for Kaydance showing her as the only parent,” acting Sgt. Jereme Leslie said. “Etchells has taken Kaydance’s freedom. She won’t know [Brown as her mom], and she’ll grow up without being able to form long-term trusting relationships.”
Etchells, who has a UK passport, fled to London with Kaydance, and her infant son, Marcus, on a WestJet flight. They are believed to be somewhere in Europe. Brown reported the incident on May 14 once she realized Etchells may have abducted Kaydance, who was 19 months old at the time, and left Canada.
Brown and Etchells conceived Kaydance through the use a donor and in 2014 Etchells carried and gave birth. Both parents were added to Kaydance’s birth certificate, according to plan, Brown said. Initially, they lived happily as a family in Edmonton, Brown said. Brown and Etchells had been in a relationship since 2009 and married in 2012.
(Inset photo: Lauren Ann Etchells/Facebook)
But things began to change with a separation process that started in July of 2015. Brown then noticed several clues that Etchells planned to flee Canada with Kaydance, including flight tickets to Qatar.
When Brown brought evidence of that to her lawyer in September of 2015, Etchells was court-ordered to surrender her’s and Kaydance’s passports and remain on Vancouver Island until a court date was scheduled.
When Brown spoke to the media on Monday, her plea was heartfelt as she read from a letter directed to Etchells and Kaydance.
“Abduction is just a word. Those who haven’t experienced it, even parents, don’t know what it is.”
On May 9, 2016, a day after Etchells left the country, Brown held a regularly scheduled Skype call with Etchells and Kaydance. It was odd to Brown that Kaydance was already in her pajamas, and that the date stamp on the Skype call said 1:30 a.m.
“It’s obviously a very emotional time for me, but if I’m able to find my daughter this is something I have to do,” Brown said at Saanich Police department. “Kaydance I love you, you are the rhythm to my life.”
To flee Canada, Etchells is alleged to have misled the Canadian passport office to get Kaydance a Canadian passport.
Saanich Police withheld the release of the case to the public until now for several reasons. One of them was to protect Etchells from harm, Leslie said.
“We didn’t want to endanger her if she’s in a Middle East country or a country that views same-sex as illegal,” Leslie said.
Etchells has a history of visiting the Middle East. Brown and Etchells had planned to spend two years in the United Arab Emirates, though that plan was canceled with the separation.
Following the separation Brown said she learned that Etchells was engaged to Marco van der Merwe, a South African living in Qatar. When Saanich Police reached van der Merwe, he was not co-operative, Leslie said.
Etchells’ parents also lived in Saanich. That brought her here in 2015, followed by Brown, who came to be close to Kaydance. Etchells’ parents have left Canada.
Saanich Police has been in contact with them, to no avail.
“If [Etchells’ parents] know where she is, they aren’t telling us,” Leslie said.
The couple’s history is documented by Brown on a Gofundme page, Where in the world is Kaydance.
If you have any information that may assist in Kaydance’s return please contact the Saanich Police Information Line at 1-888-980-1919, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection 1-866-543-8477.
To remain anonymous please contact Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.