Statement from Chief Mark Saunders
On July 3, 2019, the Toronto Police received a report from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) regarding a Zhebin Cong.
The Service was informed that the individual, under care as a patient of CAMH, was a “low risk” to public safety and to himself, and had not returned to CAMH while out on an unaccompanied public pass, as permitted by the terms of his Ontario Review Board (ORB) disposition.
An investigation was commenced on July 3, 2019. Several officers engaged on the file and conducted check-ins with CAMH, known addresses and shelters and hospitals over the next 11 days.
As the investigation continued, a decision to appeal to the public for assistance in locating Zhebin Cong was determined. The Toronto Police Service tweeted the particulars at 8:01pm on July 14, 2019, which was followed by a news release the next morning on July 15, 2019.
Investigative work continued. We learned on July 16 that Cong arrived at an airport, cleared all security checks and boarded an international flight.
I take this incident seriously. Two investigations are underway:
Investigation in to Zhebin Cong: The police investigation has been escalated to a full review beginning with his departure from CAMH to his status today as being unlawfully at large. We will review if he received assistance, money, or a passport from anyone who may have facilitated him leaving the country. We are working with Canadian and international law enforcement agencies. We will be seeking a Canada-wide warrant to aid in taking him in to custody if and when he returns to Canada.
Internal Review: I have instructed my team to conduct an extensive internal review of our procedures to identify any gaps in this incident from the police side so that we can ensure we exercise best practices. This will include but not be limited to looking at process, training and communication with our community agencies.
For more news, visit TPSnews.ca