A spokesperson for Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) says changes are coming to the hospital’s processes and staffing after a man found not criminally responsible in the death of his roommate left Canada.
Toronto police said they are working with international authorities to try to track down 48-year-old Zhebin Cong. He was reported missing on July 3 at around 6:50 p.m. by CAMH.
Cong was detained at CAMH after he was found not criminally responsible for killing his roommate with a meat cleaver in 2014. A year ago, he was allowed to live in the community in approved, 24-hour-supervised accommodation.
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.”
In an update released by CAMH Wednesday afternoon, officials said they’re taking the incident “very seriously.”
“The individual was on an unaccompanied pass to the community, as permitted by the terms of his Ontario Review Board (ORB) disposition,” the written statement said.
“CAMH has launched an internal incident review in relation to this specific and rare incident. The highest level of attention and review of our policies and procedures related to this incident is underway.”
The hospital said its physician-in-chief will oversee a reassessment of all “existing passes and privileges,” focusing on those who “have unsupervised access to the community.”
Officials also said there will be additional clinical staff to conduct “enhanced assessments” at the facility’s forensic units, along with additional security personnel.
“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,” the statement said.
“The ORB has a system of privileges — which can include accompanied or unaccompanied community passes — that is essential to prepare forensic patients to be able to safely reintegrate with the community.”
— With files from Catherine McDonald and The Canadian Press