Suspect’s Request to Talk to Daughters Denied

A man accused of stealing his two daughters from the Valencia home of his ex-wife and keeping them in hiding for seven years until he was arrested in Oregon last month was denied a request Thursday to speak to the children.

At his arraignment in San Fernando Superior Court, Ronald Whitelaw, 38, pleaded not guilty to a single count of child stealing, then asked Judge Howard Schwab to allow him to call his daughters at their mother’s home on the condition that a sheriff’s deputy could monitor the conversation to ensure he made no threats.

Schwab denied the motion but said he would reconsider the ruling and set a hearing for Oct. 15.

Whitelaw was released on $20,000 bail after his preliminary hearing, but was prohibited from making any contact with his daughters, Alisa, 14, and Kristin, 11.

They are in the custody of their mother, Faith Canutt, who became nationally known for her efforts to find the girls during the 7 1/2 years they were missing.


Whitelaw disappeared with the girls in April, 1978.