The child is in the care of the Children’s Aid Society.
According to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), the child was located in Hagar, Ont., a small community between North Bay and Sudbury, with two adults — his mother and another person that was not identified.
The SQ says its officers located the woman’s missing vehicle at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and notified Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), who secured the child at 10:45 p.m.
The trio was found at a motel, its owner told CTV News.
Officers told the staff at the Rainbow Motel to “remain calm and [pretend] that everything is normal,” said Timothy Davis, the motel’s co-owner.
“Before they got here, they said don’t make any weird movements, act like everything is normal, so we don’t, like, set them off.”
Twenty officers arrived and drew guns as they surrounded the room in question, with other guests moved away from the scene.
The force had asked the public for help on Wednesday, at the request of Quebec’s youth protection agency, to find the mother and son after the 32-year-old woman suddenly left her home in Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury over the weekend.
The toddler’s mother is the ex-spouse of a 41-year-old man who was violently killed in his Saint-Isidore home, in Quebec’s Chaudière-Appalaches region, sometime between Feb. 13 and 14.
She has legal custody of the child.
The SQ has not publicly made a link between the missing family and the man’s death.
There was confusion at first over whether the mother was also arrested, with the SQ suggesting on Thursday night that it had taken both adults into custody, using the term “prendre en charge” to say it had taken both adults under its purview or in for questioning.
Police clarified on Friday to say that only the man was arrested.
He has also now been charged, with Ontario provincial police saying Friday that a 25-year-old man from Saint-Bernard, Que., faces charges of careless use and unauthorized possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine.
“The child was unharmed and is under the care of the Children’s Aid Society. An adult female found at the scene was not arrested,” OPP said in a news release Thursday afternoon.
The accused is being held in custody pending a bail hearing in Sudbury.
Davis, the motel co-owner, said the couple and a child arrived on Thursday afternoon and checked into the motel.