Police say woman kidnapped while visiting friends on Tobique First Nation in alleged extortion case

RCMP say the victim was treated in hospital with 'significant, but non-life-threatening injuries,' and has since been released. (David Bell/CBC - image credit)
RCMP say the victim was treated in hospital with 'significant, but non-life-threatening injuries,' and has since been released. (David Bell/CBC - image credit)

A 54-year-old woman from Florenceville-Bristol is recovering after she was allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint while visiting friends on Tobique First Nation, held against her will for two days, and assaulted.

Seven people are facing a combined total of 62 charges in connection with the violent incident, Sgt. Danny Brideau, of the RCMP's West District community crime reduction unit, said Monday.

He alleges they used a noxious substance to incapacitate the victim and were trying to extort an unknown amount of money.

It's an isolated case, said Brideau, but it has shaken the small community.

"The community was very happy and pleased to see us doing an investigation on the reserve and try to resolve this matter," he said.

Tobique First Nation Chief Ross Perley and other members of the council did not respond Monday to requests for interviews.

RCMP alerted after victim showed up at hospital

The victim's ordeal began on the evening of April 27, outside the home of her friends, according to Brideau.

Tobique RCMP were called two days later, when the woman showed up at the hospital, around noon. The case was handed over to the West District RCMP.

Brideau declined to say how she got to the hospital or discuss the nature of her injuries, saying it's all part of the ongoing investigation.

He did say she was treated for "significant, but non-life-threatening injuries," and has since been released.

On May 6, police executed a search warrant at a residence on Tobique First Nation.

Seven people were arrested with the help of the RCMP's dog service and air service.

7 accused known to victim

They are known to the victim and include the friends she was visiting, according to Brideau.

They include four men and two women from Tobique, ranging in age from 27 to 36, as well as a 56-year-old man from nearby Tilley.

It's "very ... unusual" to see so many people charged in connection with one incident, said Brideau. He's never seen it before in his 15 years with the force, he said.

"Usually we might have two suspects, maybe, that would be involved in those kind of acts."

That's one of the reasons the crime reduction unit, which typically handles the most serious cases in western New Brunswick, from Campobello up to almost the Quebec border, is leading the investigation, he said. "It required a bigger unit to be concentrated on that investigation only. So that's when we come in."

All of the accused appeared in Woodstock provincial court and were charged with various offences, depending on their alleged level of involvement, said Brideau.

The charges include kidnapping, extortion, assault, assault causing bodily harm, administering a noxious substance, forcible confinement, possession of a prohibited firearm, pointing a firearm and careless use of a firearm.

The accused remain in custody and are scheduled to return to court between May 16 and May 28.