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Corrections Canada launches review after convicted murderer’s brief escape from Dorchester Penitentiary

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WATCH: A convicted murderer is back behind bars after he escaped from a minimum security unit at the Dorchester Penitentiary. RCMP says they received a tip from a motorist who believed they saw Steven Bugden walking between Dorchester and Sackville, N.B. Morganne Campbell reports – Feb 9, 2018

Corrections Canada says it will review security measures after a convicted murderer briefly escaped from a minimum security section of Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick.

Steven Bugden, 45, was captured hours later in a ravine, suffering from exposure.

RCMP say the inmate was found in a wooded area between Dorchester and Sackville, N.B. on Thursday night.

READ MORE: Inmate serving time for murder escapes from Dorchester Penitentiary in N.B.

Guards realized Bugden was missing on Wednesday night during their 10 p.m. head count.

RCMP Sgt. Paul Gagne says police received a tip from a resident who had spotted Bugden a few hours earlier. Officers followed tracks in the snow and found Bugden in a ravine. They believe he had been outside in the elements since his escape.

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Bugden was taken to the hospital to get checked and was later put back into custody.

 

Correctional Service Canada (CSC) says an internal investigation is underway into the incident.

“When these things happen, we do internal investigations to make sure that our staff were all following policy in terms of monitoring him in the institution,” said Ed Muise, the deputy commissioner for CSC’s Atlantic region.

“We just look to see if anything went wrong with our system that we need to correct.”

Émile Belliveau, the assistant warden at the penitentiary, told Global News on Thursday that the minimum security sector consists of housing units and that “if an inmate wants to walk out, they can. There aren’t any actual walls or structure.”

He added that Bugden was considered “low-risk for public safety” when he was placed there.

WATCH: Convicted murderer escapes from Dorchester Penitentiary in N.B.

Click to play video: 'Convicted murderer escapes from Dorchester Penitentiary in N.B.' Convicted murderer escapes from Dorchester Penitentiary in N.B.
Convicted murderer escapes from Dorchester Penitentiary in N.B – Feb 8, 2018

CSC says Bugden’s security classification will now be reassessed, meaning it’s possible that he will now be moved to a medium or maximum security facility.

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There may be internal charges filed against him, which would have an impact on his sentence. Any additional criminal charges would come from the RCMP.

Denied day parole in 2009

Bugden is currently serving a life sentence for second-degree murder, in the death of a university student in 1997 in Ottawa. Angela Tong, who was 22 at the time, was a student at Carleton University.

According to a document from the National Parole Board, Bugden was denied day parole and unescorted temporary passes in April 2009 after a review.

READ: 2 correctional officers charged in 2015 death of N.B. inmate

The board details how Bugden was “infatuated” with the victim and had lured her to a hotel room under the guise that she would be attending a Bible class. When the victim reiterated she only wanted to be friends with Bugden, he stabbed her 18 or 19 times. He had brought a hunting knife with him to the hotel.

Tong’s body was found in a sports bag beside a dumpster on the hotel property. Bugden surrendered to police the next day.

In reaching their decision to deny day parole, the board said they heavily weighed his emotional and mental health concerns, which included anger. The board found that his risk to re-offend had not been mitigated at that point.

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With files from Morganne Campbell and Shelley Steeves

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