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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.

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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.


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