The two children named in an Amber Alert issued by Saskatchewan RCMP Monday are believed to be with their mother and her common-law partner, who has a history of sexual offences against children, according to RCMP.
Police are looking for seven-year-old Luna Potts and eight-year-old Hunter Potts, according to an Amber Alert issued at the request of Shaunavon RCMP.
Saskatchewan RCMP provided an update Tuesday afternoon, saying a warrant had been issued for the arrest of Benjamin Martin Moore. He has lived with the kids and their mother, 45-year-old Leah Potts, in Eastend, Sask., according to police.
“We believe that Luna and Hunter are in danger in the presence of Benjamin Moore, and we want to locate them as quickly as possible to ensure that they are brought home safely,” said Chief Supt. Tyler Bates, the officer in charge of the Saskatchewan RCMP’s south district management team, at a news conference Tuesday.
Bates said police believe all four may be in the U.S.
“We do have credible and reliable evidence that they are in South Dakota, and we are engaged with our law enforcement partners.”
Late Tuesday night, RCMP extended the Amber Alert to include South Dakota.
Bates said he didn’t know if Moore is the biological father of the two children.
The Ministry of Social Services asked Shaunavon RCMP to help with an investigation into allegations against Moore, Bates said.
Before police were able to question the 50-year-old man, Moore, Potts and the children had left their home in Eastend, said Bates.
The initial visit to the home with social services was on Aug. 2, he added. This led the ministry to seek an apprehension order for the children, he said.
When asked why it took six days for police to issue an Amber Alert, Bates said the Ministry of Social Services informed RCMP Monday that the apprehension order had been obtained.
“Immediately upon receipt of that apprehension order, we followed through with the process to to issue an Amber Alert,” said the RCMP officer.
“It’s only since yesterday evening that the request came from the Ministry of Social Services with respect to the apprehension order.”
The alert described Moore as five feet, 10 inches tall and 200 pounds, with black hair. He has previously been convicted of sexual interference and possession of child pornography, according to Bates.
CBC News reported in the past that Moore served a 26-month sentence for inappropriately touching a young child, possessing child pornography and other offences.
In 2011 Moore was deemed a high-risk to reoffend and his release prompted a warning from police in Regina.
“Following the Amber Alert, one individual has reported an incident involving Benjamin Martin Moore to police,” said Bates.
“We are encouraging anyone else who may have been a victim of Benjamin Moore to file a report with police. We take these matters very seriously and we want to ensure that survivors are supported.”
On Tuesday, Saskatchewan RCMP charged the the 50-year-old with failing to report information to a registration centre within seven days after changing residence, which is required by the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, said Bates.
Shaunavon RCMP said the group may be travelling in a 2015 dark blue Chevy Equinox, with the Alberta licence plate CGC2492.
Moore goes by different names, including Benjamin Moore, Hawk Smith and Ben Scutchings, according to Bates.
People who see the children, Potts or Moore or have information regarding their whereabouts are asked to call 911 or 1-877-SOAMBER (762-6237).