Canada-wide warrant to be issued for man wanted in death of 7-year-old stepson

Written by CBC News.

CBC News

A Canada-wide warrant is expected to be issued Monday for a man wanted in connection with the death of a boy in St Catharines, Ont.

Seven-year-old Nathan Dumas was found injured at a residence Friday and died in hospital a day later. 

Niagara Regional Police looked for Justin Kuijer, 43, through the weekend after a woman was stabbed at a Royal Bank branch on Friday.

 

Police say Kuijer is the stepfather of Dumas and that he is armed and dangerous. Niagara police spoke to the media at 8 a.m. Monday morning. 

The warrant being issued Monday is for first degree murder in the case of the boy and attempted murder in connection with the stabbing of the bank employee, who is in hospital in stable condition.

Nathan died Saturday after being discovered in medical distress in St. Catharines on Friday. Police said he was transferred to hospital in critical condition from his home on Queenston Street. Const. Phil Gavin with the Niagara police told CBC they "consider [Kuijer] responsible for his death."

His mother, Whitney Dumas, wrote a note on Facebook Sunday: "Your kind words and well wishes and downpour of donations have been truly overwhelming. Our Niagara regional police are truly something to be proud of. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty with support and compassion."

A gofundme page has been set up to take donations in support of the Dumas family, and it sat at $12,080 as of Monday morning.

"He was the kindest little boy you'd ever meet. Everybody loved him," Dumas said in an interview with the St Catharines Standard. "He was such an old soul."

Niagara police told CBC in an email that Whitney Dumas "is co-operating with [the police] and [they] have taken security measures to ensure her safety."

Nathan was a student in Grade 2 at Harriet Tubman Public School on Henry Street in St Catharines.

"The community is upset and grieving," said Kim Yielding, a spokesperson for the District School Board of Niagara.

"The principal of the school has been in touch with the family to let them know we're here for them," she said.

"We have social workers at the school at the moment," said Yielding. "They are there to support students, and the staff too. Teachers will be speaking to their students in age-appropriate ways, and social workers will be on hand."

Const. Gavin said Monday morning that the mother of the boy has been cooperating with police. "She is also grieving at a terribly tragic situation at the loss of a son in a way that few people could comprehend," Gavin said. "It's a terrible situation for her. She's working with us."

"We do believe the victims were targeted," Gavin told reporters Sunday.  Police didn't disclose the connection between the attack on the woman and the death of the boy. The condition of the woman attacked has been upgraded to stable from serious condition. Police said the woman and Kuijer are "known to each other professionally."

Gavin wouldn't say what the professional relationship was.

The bank employee, police say, was stabbed in an RBC branch on Martindale Road in St. Catharines.

Police originally reported the stabbing as a violent bank robbery at an RBC branch, but Gavin clarified on Sunday that it wasn't a robbery or a domestic dispute. 

Police said the man fled in a grey 2009 Pontiac Montana van, licence plate BYTE392. The van also had a pink-and-white decal in the back window for missing woman unrelated to the case. " Where he may be going we just don't know," Gavin said Monday.

Kuijer is described as a white male with a tall, thin build, with a beard and longer dark hair. He wore a black tuque and coat, boots and possibly an orange sweater.

Initially treated at the St. Catharines site of the Niagara Health System, the woman was transported to a trauma centre outside of the Niagara region.

Anyone who sees the van, or has information, should call (905) 688-4111.

"Should a member of the public observe or know the location of Justin Kuijer, do not approach him," police said.