In a recent court hearing, Michael Stephan Klimchuk was sentenced to four years in prison, which includes the 112 days he has already served in custody, for his involvement in a distressing kidnapping incident. Klimchuk pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and forcible confinement of 25-year-old Bailee Scott and her 2-year-old daughter.
On November 25th, 2022, when Klimchuk approached Scott near her mailbox in Portage. He manipulated his way into her vehicle, claiming to have had a heart attack. With her daughter present, Scott found herself in a terrifying situation. He claimed to be pursued by individuals who had taken him from Winnipeg and were threatening his life.
During the drive towards Winnipeg, Scott managed to dial 911, but Klimchuk quickly seized her phone. Fearing for their safety, she complied with his demands to continue driving. He then allowed her to contact her husband so he wouldn’t be worried about his wife and daughter.
Scott attempted to send a covert message to her husband, Blaise Anderson, who promptly alerted the authorities upon sensing something was wrong. The ordeal persisted as Klimchuk forced Scott to turn off her phone, cutting off all communication with the outside world. Eventually, at a Walmart in Winnipeg, Klimchuk got out of the vehicle, allowing Scott and her daughter to escape unharmed.
During the court proceedings at the Portage la Prairie Provincial Court, the judge considered many factors. He noted Klimchuk's advanced age, health issues, the absence of physical harm inflicted on Scott and her daughter. The judge also made reference to his apologetic attitude to her during the drive, and the fact he gave Scott $30 for the fuel she used on the drive. However, the judge also acknowledged the significant mental trauma and anguish experienced by Bailee. Taking all these aspects into account, the judge deemed the recommended four-year sentence appropriate.
Klimchuk, with a history of criminal activity dating back to 1978, including thefts, robbery, aggravated assault, and fleeing from police, chose not to address the court. His physical condition, marked by the need for a walker and multiple surgeries on his left hip, was also taken into consideration.
Authorities expressed gratitude to the public, the media, the Winnipeg Police Service, the Manitoba First Nation Police Service, and the Province of Manitoba's Emergency Measures Organization for their valuable assistance throughout the investigation.