Around the sprawling Queen Street West campus of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), staff and patients of the psychiatric hospital are frequently seen walking the neighbourhood streets.
Twice already this month, Toronto police have put out news releases alerting the public that two men last seen in the area of Queen Street West and Ossington Avenue have gone missing. Investigators won’t say that they are patients at CAMH, but Global News has confirmed both missing men were under the care of the psychiatric hospital.
On July 14, 68-year-old Geoffrey George Le Feuvre went missing and in the description released by Toronto police, it said Le Feuvre is “known to be violent and dangerous.” Le Feuvre has since been located.
And on July 15, Toronto police announced that 48-year-old Zhebin Cong was missing. Investigators said Cong was last seen on July 3 in the Queen Street West and Ossington Avenue area and wrote they are concerned for his safety.
Global News confirmed with the Ontario Review Board that Cong was being detained in the general forensic unit at CAMH after being found not criminally responsible on March 10, 2016 of second-degree murder.
In the judgement released by Justice Ian MacDonnell, who conducted the trial without a jury, he wrote there is no dispute the Cong assaulted 56-year-old San Tai Yuan with a meat cleaver that killed him. But MacDonnell ruled that Cong was incapable of knowing that his conduct was wrong.
According to the statement of facts, on the evening of Sept. 14, 2014, Cong was in his bedroom of the rooming house where he lived near Don Mills Road and Van Horne Avenue, when he armed himself with a meat cleaver, left his bedroom and attacked Yuan, who was in the common area kitchen. When police arrived, they found Yuan’s lifeless body on the kitchen floor. Cong was sitting a short distance away and he was arrested.
Cong later told homicide detectives in a voluntary statement that for over a week he had a sense that someone was following him.
“There’s some tricks behind me and that there were others who were trying to trick me into talking, to so bad things so that I have a bad reputation,” he said.
Two psychiatrists expressed the opinion that a the time of the assault on Yuan, Cong was suffering from a major mental illness — likely schizophrenia.
After being found not criminally responsible of second-degree murder, Cong was admitted to CAMH’s secure forensic unit under the direction of the Ontario Review Board. Officials from CAMH told Global News that it takes public safety very seriously and works closely with police.
“Each forensic patient at CAMH has a unique rehabilitation and recovery plan in place, which is overseen by the ORB. The ORB sets the parameters of supervision and management for people found not criminally responsible,” a statement said, adding officials would not speak about Cong’s case.
In the most recent disposition from the Ontario Review Board dated April 18 and obtained by a Global News, Cong was granted quite a bit of supervised community access. While Cong is still officially being detained at the general forensic unit, he was granted privileges to enter the community accompanied by a staff member or an approved person in charge — at times indirectly supervised.
Cong was also granted permission to live in the community in accommodation approved for by the person in charge. But the Toronto police must be notified when Cong is permitted to enter the community. The accused must also not possess weapons or have any contact with the son of Yuan.
When living in the community, Cong must also be in touch with the person in charge at CAMH not less than once per week.
People who frequent the area around CAMH are concerned that the news release was not put out sooner given Cong’s violent past.
“I think it’s terrible it’s taken two weeks for them to put out the alert so he’s been wandering around. Even if he was found not criminally responsible, he obviously has mental issues and he should be in treatment,” said Sandi Gloverman.
Late Tuesday afternoon, after repeated requests to Toronto police for comment on Cong’s case and why it took so long for the public to be notified he was missing, Global News received an email from Const. Caroline de Kloet.
“On July 3, 2019, the Toronto Police Service were informed of a missing person and open an investigation regarding Zhebin Cong. The Toronto Police Service has now confirmed that Zhebin Cong has fled the country,” the statement said.
“He boarded an international flight on the same day he was reported missing. We are working with international law enforcement agencies on next steps. This is an ongoing investigation.”