A 7-year-old Canadian girl at the center of a COVID-19 vaccine dispute between her parents has been taken by her anti-vaxxer father and is being held at an undisclosed location to keep her from getting inoculated, the girl’s mother says.
Mariecar Jackson has secured two court orders demanding that her daughter, Sarah Jackson, be returned to her care. But authorities haven’t been able to track down her ex-husband to enforce the orders, according to her lawyer, Jill Drennan, who told CBC News that a police visit to his home in Carievale only revealed that the two were not there.
“We don’t believe they are in the community any more. She could be out of province,” Drennan, the director of Regina’s rural legal aid office, was quoted saying of the girl’s home in Saskatchewan province.
“We simply don’t know where she is. We are asking the public for help,” she added.
Instead, amid frantic search efforts for the girl last week, her father, Michael Jackson, appeared on a right-wing talk show called Live With Laura Lynn along with his daughter.
In the show, posted on the conservative-friendly video platform Rumble and titled “Dad on the Run as Ex-Wife Says She Will Obey the Government and Vaccinate Her 7 Year Old Child,” Jackson appeared in a half-assed disguise: a black beanie with dark sunglasses.
He told the host he was not sure if he was actively being sought by police, saying he’d received “mixed messages” about whether or not there was a warrant for his arrest.
“I’m sure by now… We’ve been gone almost a month, I’m sure there’s a warrant of some kind,” he said in the Jan. 7 interview.
A call to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Carnduff detachment went unanswered Wednesday, and they did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Nor did the Regina Police Service. According to CBC News, police in Regina said the court orders for the 7-year-old’s return did not “provide the verification we would need” to open a criminal investigation.
The girl’s father, meanwhile, publicly claimed to be on a mission from God.
“I want everybody to see that Sarah’s healthy, she’s happy,” he said on the online talk show, before saying he decided to flee with his daughter because an unspecified “they” were “coming for our children.”
Jackson said he had his daughter at his home in Carievale for a scheduled visit in November, and once he heard the news that the vaccine had been approved for children, he decided not to return her to her mom, whom he knew to be supportive of vaccination efforts.
“I couldn’t let it happen,” he said of the vaccination, adding: “I had to protect my daughter from it.”
The talk show’s host responded to Jackson’s concerns by showing an apparently unverified social media post from a Facebook user who said her child had died after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The two then mocked Jackson’s ex-wife before he turned the camera to his daughter and asked her to tell viewers why she didn’t want to get vaccinated.
“Because it can change your DNA and I don’t believe God wants me to. And it can make you sick and kill you,” she said.
The interview concluded with the girl’s father suggesting the Bible had warned of the coronavirus pandemic and referencing “mass psychosis.”
“I’m doing what God wants me to do,” he said.
Drennan, the mother’s lawyer, said Jackson’s appearance on the talk show only escalated the severity of the situation.
“It’s been more than 60 days. It appears he has no intention of returning her,” she told CBC News.
Drennan did not immediately return a request for comment from The Daily Beast.
Mariecar Jackson, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has been left to plead publicly for help bringing her daughter home.
“She’s only seven. She needs to be home. I just want her home,” Jackson told CBC News, adding that her last contact with her daughter was on Nov. 21.
“Mommy will never stop looking for you. Mommy loves you so much. Every day, I pray that some day you’ll be home. I love you so much. Mommy is standing strong and some day we will be together.”