The search for a man facing charges of sexually assaulting and confining a teenage boy in Nova Scotia ended Thursday when police confirmed his body was found in a heavily wooded area in Northern Ontario.
RCMP Sergeant Alain LeBlanc said a body found off a remote logging road in Long Lac was that of 31-year-old Wayne Alan Cunningham, who was wanted in Nova Scotia on charges of holding a 16-year-old boy captive and sexually assaulting him over several days last month.
Sgt. LeBlanc could not reveal the cause of death because officials were waiting to conduct an autopsy, but he said foul play was not suspected.
"At least we know for a fact that the body is that of Mr. Cunningham," he said in Halifax. "That part of it is confirmed."
Acting Sgt. Anne McCoy of the Ontario Provincial Police said the body was near a 2003 Hyundai Elantra that was found on a logging road on Wednesday evening close to Long Lac.
The car was about 19 kilometres off the highway in Greenstone, about 250 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.
Mr. Cunningham's co-accused, David James Leblanc, was arrested on Sunday on a road in Greenstone after officers received a report of a man wandering with no shoes and wearing light clothing in near-freezing temperatures.
Mr. Leblanc's mother, Violet Leblanc, said Mr. Cunningham, who had known her son for 11 years, had diabetes and took insulin shots, but she didn't know if he had the medication with him.
She said she learned of his death on Wednesday evening when his mother called.
"She called me and told me that he was gone," she said from her home in Liverpool, N.S. "He just seemed like an ordinary fellow to me. He didn't seem any different than anybody else."
Ms. Leblanc said she had little information about the health of her 47-year-old son since he was arrested. Police said Mr. Leblanc was suffering from exposure to temperatures that hovered around zero.
Ms. Leblanc said she wished her son had gone to police when charges were filed against him and Mr. Cunningham.
"They should have turned themselves in when they was asked and I think he would have been all right today," she said.
Mr. Leblanc is facing charges of forcible confinement and sexual assault.
The RCMP in Nova Scotia launched an investigation last week after a woman reported that a boy – barefoot and chained at the wrists and ankles – showed up at her doorstep in the Lunenburg County community of Upper Chelsea, about 130 kilometres southwest of Halifax.
In documents filed last week with the provincial court in Bridgewater, N.S., RCMP Constable Timothy Cole said a 16-year-old boy told them he was sleeping on the streets of Halifax last month when he woke up in a van and was taken to a home.
Const. Cole said two men held the boy against his will, sexually assaulted him over several days and talked about trying to sell him.
A parole board assessment of Mr. Cunningham done more than five years ago said he was troubled by emotional issues surrounding his sexuality and self-esteem.
In its decision to give him day parole in March, 2007, the National Parole Board suggested Mr. Cunningham address his emotional issues, upgrade his educational and employment skills and keep away from negative influences.
Mr. Cunningham had been sentenced four months earlier to more than three years in prison on charges including theft, break and enter, fraud and forgery.
"Issues surrounding sexual identity in your teens is believed to have ill effects on your self-esteem," board member Anna Butland wrote in the decision.
"This result is believed to have led to choices in being a follower of criminally oriented peers and negatively influenced family relations."