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Five arrested in alleged kidnapping of Moira couple

James and Sandra Helm (Photo provided by New York State Police)

Five people have been arrested by Canadian authorities in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a couple from the town of Moira.

Three people were arrested Tuesday as they left a residence in the Quebec city of Magog, which is located about 75 miles east of Montreal, Surete du Quebec Sgt. Claude Denis said. The Moira couple — James and Sandra Helm, whom Denis described as hostages — were located at the residence.

Two others were arrested later in connection with the kidnapping, Denis said. Four of the five — two from Montreal, two from Akwesasne — are scheduled to appear in provincial court in Montreal later Wednesday to face a charge of forcible confinement, Denis said.

The fifth person was released as the investigation continues, he said.

A search was conducted in Magog earlier Wednesday, Denis said. He did not describe the results, if any, of that search.

The SQ is continuing to work with multiple U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, New York State Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Akwesasne Mohawk Police Services, Denis said.

The FBI issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying only the “international kidnapping investigation” is ongoing and the agency continues to work with both U.S. and Canadian law enforcement.

Additional information will be released in the coming days, the FBI statement said.

The Helms were last seen Sunday night, and the investigation into their disappearance was launched Monday.

James and Sandra Helm, both in their 70s, were found safe Tuesday after going missing Sunday, the FBI announced Tuesday evening. James Helm has been the town of Moira’s highway superintendent for more than a decade and has often run unopposed, usually with the backing of both major political parties. He was most recently reelected in 2019.

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