Councillor
Sandie Bellows
 Sandie's Story:

In 1990 my life took an unexpected turn…

As I walked into the credit union I noticed a man sitting in his car. He smiled at me and I smiled back. Having grown up in a loving and nurturing home and living and working in the medium-sized Ontario city where I felt safe. It was just normal to smile and be friendly. What I didn't know was that in the preceding two days this man had already killed two people; that as a desperate fugitive he needed a new escape vehicle and was ready to kill to get it.

I returned to my car and unlocked the door. He suddenly appeared beside me and after a very loud, forceful struggle where it and my screams went ignored by all those around us, we were off in my car beginning a horrendous and painful journey. Taking the wheel himself, he told me wouldn't hurt me, but he needed my vehicle and for me to look like his wife. If I co-operated, he'd let me go.

Over the next few hours he drove erratically and demanded constantly that I talk to him. He seemed paranoid and jittery, and his body odour smelled rotten. He smelled like death. He left the highway, telling me he was looking for a place to drop me off.

All of a sudden he got vicious and mean. He told me to shut up. It appeared to me that he had mentally snapped. Holding a sharp-pointed carpenter's awl to my face he yelled at me, ordering me to undress. Throughout the vicious rape that ensued I cried and pleaded for him to stop hurting me. Instead he grew increasingly coarse and violent. It became increasingly clear that he had no plans to leave me alive.

Suddenly the man stopped. A man on a tractor was approaching. My soon to be Hero was a retired OPP officer who owned the bush lot. A series of fateful coincidences whereby his previous plans for the day had been cancelled led to him to decide to cut wood instead and put him in the right place to be able to save my life. 

Mistaking us first for a couple having a lovers' rendezvous he soon clued into what was really going on. Even though he hadn’t been able to stop the vicious attack sooner or stop her abuser from escaping, this angel of a man did help end the monster’s killing spree and save my life.  It was only through the Grace of God placing this man on my path that day that I am alive at all. 

Once the villain was captured and throughout the court case and parole hearings Al, my Hero and I never lost touch. in fact he became a life long friend. Our two families became one and we saw each other all the time. He would even join us for kids' birthdays."

After a Canada-wide manhunt based on the description I gave them of his tattoos police knew who they were looking for -- a 28-year-old janitor and school drop-out who had been in trouble with the law since he was 10. He was finally arrested without incident and brought to trial. He received three life sentences for his crimes, to be served concurrently, without eligibility for parole for 17 years.

You might call me a lifer in one sense with Corrections Canada. While the offender waived his right   for a full parole hearing in 2016, the next scheduled date for this full Parker hearing is Dec 2021. Day parole he can request at any time. I am determined to keep him behind bars forever.  I was brutally raped, beaten stabbed by a vicious animal and knowing he can ask for his freedom again...and possibly again if this one fails is always in the back of my mind and from time to time it creeps up on me and takes me down for a day or two.  


In the first year, I abandoned the home I shared with my husband and returned to my parents' home. I reverted back to a seven - or nine-year-old. I couldn't handle it. I had to go back home. The days went into weeks, the weeks went into months. I was so terrified. I felt threatened. My world had shattered. Later, another casualty of the brutal attack would be my marriage to a man I loved him dearly, but (after the attack) I became distant and cold. He suffered, too. He lost as much as I did. He lost everything, too.

After the ordeal I struggled with my weight because I wanted to hide behind a protective physical barrier and still use food for comfort when I am stressed. I had a really hard time that people saw it happen and didn't get involved. If I heard someone scream in a parking lot, I would go over and see what was happening. I would call police. Even if it was a marital quarrel, how can we live in a society where people are thinking that is acceptable behaviour, that a woman could be accosted like that? Today with everyone carrying cellphones if you don’t call right away at least take a photo/video of what is happening and or license plate number then call 911 or police to check it out.

I used to be a person who saw the good in everyone. My rose coloured glasses are off and this  Cont'd at Right...
was robbed from me for many years. I always thought I was a good judge of character yet was initially conned into believing he was a nice person who had a bad break in life. I couldn’t have been more wrong at the time. Learning to trust myself again has been the most difficult part. 

Despite the tremendous losses this ordeal caused in my life I have gone on to do many courageous things -- recover from my injuries, learn to drive again, give birth to two sons, raise my children, make new friends and return to work. I abandoned the legal anonymity afforded to victims of sexual assault and willingly allowed myself to be publicly identified so the only surviving victim of this man’s killing spree would have a face. 

I began to be more vocal about what happened to me, to cultivate friendships that nourished me and to speak with bluntness and candor about this horrid man and his crimes. This especially has taught me that if you decide to be quiet, you will get nowhere in life. 

It's all right to talk about what happened. I have to educate everybody. This has included educating my two sons, who only learned about my ordeal when they happened to catch a television interview that I had given for a TVO program. They were crying, they were scared, but the three of us sat up in my bed and watched it together while assuring my children they were safe.

Today, I am able to speak quite calmly about this attack and only cry when I describe my feelings of powerlessness surface. As part of my recovery I even went back to the credit union where I was abducted and back to the country lane in Paris, Ontario where I almost died.

I have since turned this experience as a victim of violent crime into a role as advocate for other victims. I meet with justice officials, speaks publicly as often as possible, campaigns for more information for victims and for restrictions on sentences and parole.

Today I am proud of my public profile as a survivor, and hope to use my story to help others. I share my story as I like to encourage victims to stand up for themselves and not let their offender control them. I have worked on victim impact statements accompanied victims to sentencing hearings so that they can empower themselves to stand up to the offender and make them take responsibility for the crime they committed against the victim. 

I remain eternally grateful to the man whose presence on that fateful day kept me alive. Al Pike, who died in 2016 at age 90, was a retired OPP officer, a businessman and a farmer with a passion for beekeeping and woodcutting. He was also a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather. But to me, Mr. Pike was a hero, the man who rescued me from a two-time killer on the run from police. He was my guardian angel and I'm sad that he is gone. He called me the daughter that he never had and he will always be in my heart.

What doesn’t kill you does indeed makes you stronger… and while I would have preferred to have skipped this episode in the story of my life it has truly been a disguised blessing by making me into an even stronger more aware and yes, open person, open to helping my fellow humans in need. I have learned to trust MYSELF to be more aware of everything and everyone around me. It isn’t always easy… yet easier with each day.

I am currently serving as a City Councillor and love this job as it is helping people. I encourage every citizen of every city to get involved if you see someone in distress or being taken against their will. Do it anonymously if that feels better but do it! You could save someone's life.


Connect with Councillor Sandie Bellows 
via LinkedInTwitter &/Or Facebook

Story Resources:
Documentary  Full Video https://youtu.be/Q9q9PB1VBfc
My ordeal starts 6:55 minutes into the video.


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