April 9, 2008 / 12:42 AM / 10 years ago

Canada police urge patience in child killer probe

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Police asked for the public’s patience on Tuesday as they pressed on with their search for a Canadian man wanted in connection with the killing of his three young children.

Police also said they had requested, unsuccessfully, that Allan Schoenborn be held in jail after he was arrested last week for allegedly threatening a local principal and student at a Merritt, British Columbia, school his daughter attended.

The 10-year-old daughter and her two brothers, ages 8 and 5, were murdered on Sunday in the mobile home where they lived with their mother in Merritt, a town of some 7,600 people more than 200 km (130 miles) northeast of Vancouver.

Police acknowledged they didn’t know if Schoenborn, a roofer by trade, was still near the town or had fled the Western Canadian province altogether.

“We have to explore every scenario, every possibility. He could be anywhere,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cst. Anne Linteau told a news conference in Merritt.

Schoenborn, 40, who was estranged from his wife and lived near Vancouver, is described by police as a “suspect” in the killings, but has not been formally charged with murder.

Police defended a decision to wait more than 12 hours after the bodies were discovered to tell the public about the manhunt for Schoenborn. There were some reports that he had taken his own life.

“(These) investigations are not like they appear on television and are not solved within 60 minutes.” Linteau said.

Despite the school threat, police do not believe Schoenborn poses a danger to other children.

Police had unsuccessfully asked a justice of the peace to keep Schoenborn in custody after the school incident because he had a criminal record and did not live in Merritt, which they said made him a flight risk.

Neighbors told local media that the woman had discovered her children’s bodies when she returned home after running some errands. A police statement on Monday said the father had been watching the children while she was out.

Schoenborn’s wife was given a court restraining order against her husband last year to keep him away, local media reported. She and the children had moved to Merritt six months ago.

British Columbia’s Coroners Service said on Tuesday it will hold an inquest into the killings, which might help determine if they could have been prevented.

Reporting Allan Dowd; Editing by Rob Wilson

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