A Saskatoon woman accused of faking her death and that of her child before they crossed the border into the United States has pleaded guilty to three charges and apologized in court.
Dawn Walker pleaded guilty to forgery offences as well as abduction in contravention of a custody or parenting order.
A joint submission from Crown and defence lawyers is recommending she serve a one-year conditional sentence and 18 months probation.
Walker and her child were reported missing in July 2022 after her pickup truck was found near a river at a park south of Saskatoon.
Some people feared the pair had drowned and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, where Walker worked, organized a vigil and searches.
Two weeks later, she and her child were found by U.S. authorities in Oregon.
Walker also faces two charges in the U.S. related to identity fraud for allegedly crossing the border with fake identification.
After she was returned to Canada, her lawyers and relatives alleged she was a victim of domestic violence. The child’s father has said he would never hurt her or the child.
Walker told a Saskatoon judge on Thursday that she was hurt knowing she may have caused pain to an Indigenous community that has already suffered.
“I apologize to my friends and family for the pain and suffering that I have caused them,” she said.
She said it was her “sacred duty” to protect her child’s innocence.
But she said she’s not proud of how she carried out that duty, calling it a lapse of judgment.
“I am truly sorry for my actions.”