London police searching for EMDC inmate 'unlawfully at large'
The search is on for an inmate from the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre who allegedly impersonated his cellmate and was released in his place.
Police were called to EMDC on Wednesday after the inmate, identified as 19-year-old Justin Kunz, was deemed to be unlawfully at large.
Kunz allegely changed his appearance to look like his cellmate - who was about to be released, threatened his cellmate to keep him quiet, then identified himself as the other man when correctional officers arrived.
He was then released under the other man's name.
Arrest warrants have now been issued for the London man for personation, uttering threats and being unlawfully at large.
Kunz had been in custody and is before the courts for offences including possession of firearms, failing to comply with court orders, uttering threats and mischief.
Anyone with information is asked to call the London Police Service at 519-661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
Brent Ross, as spokesperson for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, has released a statement on the incident:
The improper release of any inmate from a correctional facility is unacceptable and the ministry takes its responsibilities in this area very seriously. When an improper release takes place, the police are immediately notified and all efforts are made to locate the individual and return them to custody. In addition, where there is a victim notification on the inmate’s file, that individual will also be contacted to inform them of the release.
The Ministry can confirm that inmate Justin Kunz was improperly released from custody on July 22, 2015, meaning that he was released by Ministry officials prior to his scheduled release date by error. Contrary to reports, the inmate did not escape from the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, and to date no one has ever escaped on their own or with the help of others, from the EMDC.
The ministry is conducting an internal investigation to determine not only what caused the improper release, but also to determine if any actions are required to ensure it does not happen again. As you can appreciate, the Ministry cannot discuss details of the improper release due to the ongoing police and internal investigations.
The Ministry is working with the London Police Service to return the offender to custody. For more information on those efforts, please contact the London Police Service.