Army reservist allegedly linked to neo-Nazi group reported missing

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Reservist allegedly linked to neo-Nazi group is missing
ABOVE: The Canadian military relieved army reservist Patrik Matthews of duty over his alleged ties to a neo-Nazi group. Now the 26-year-old has been reported missing. Mercedes Stephenson reports. – Aug 28, 2019

A Manitoba army reservist with alleged ties to a neo-Nazi group has gone missing.

RCMP in Beausejour say Patrik Mathews was reported missing on Monday. He was last seen by family on the night of Aug. 24.

READ MORE: Canadian Armed Forces investigating member for alleged involvement in hate network

“Family members are concerned for his well-being and are asking Patrik to contact them or the RCMP immediately,” police said.

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He is believed to be driving a red 2010 Dodge Ram with the Manitoba licence plate HXJ 806.

Mathews had been with the Forces for eight years, working as a combat engineer, and was trained in the use of explosives.

His disappearance comes after a Winnipeg Free Press report that alleged he was recruiting for a white supremacist network called The Base.

WATCH: Canadian reservist under investigation for allegedly promoting hate group

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Canadian reservist under investigation for allegedly promoting hate group

Late Tuesday, the military said in a statement that Mathews had been relieved of his duties over allegations of his involvement with neo-Nazis.

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“This action was deemed necessary, considering the seriousness of the allegations and the risk to unit morale and cohesion,” a military spokesperson said in an email to Global News.

The statement said that Mathews, a master corporal with the Winnipeg-based 38 Canadian Brigade Group, would “no longer be a participant in military activities in any form, and will not be returning to work.”

LISTEN: Winnipeg Free Press reporter Ryan Thorpe joins Rob Breakenridge to discuss investigating The Base and Patrik Mathews

A military source confirms that despite being relieved of duty, Mathews remains a member of the Forces but is under suspension.

A spokesperson for the department of National Defence (DND) said that Mathews’ request for voluntary release, which had been in progress since April, has been expedited and is “expected to be finalized within weeks.”

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LISTEN: Winnipeg Free Press reporter Ryan Thorpe joins Ryan Jespersen to discuss Patrik Mathews’ disappearance

“The CAF investigation remains ongoing,” the spokesperson said.​

Leaving the Armed Forces wouldn’t prevent a member from facing possible charges or a trial in military court, DND said.

Last week, Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of defence staff, told reporters that the military had already been meeting with Mathews in April to discuss “his utterances.”

“The Canadian Forces national counter-intelligence unit had already begun to deal with him by the time that story broke,” he said. “I’m happy to say we didn’t miss the signal.”

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WATCH: Canada adds far-right, neo-Nazi groups to terror list

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Canada adds far-right, neo-Nazi groups to terror list

Mathews had applied to leave the Forces as the military began a formal investigation into his activities — a probe Vance said was underway in July.

The RCMP are continuing to investigate his alleged ties to The Base, a hate group centred around military training to prepare for a perceived future race war. Posters for the group began to appear around Winnipeg in late July.

The RCMP executed a search warrant at a home in Beausejour on Aug. 19, the day the Free Press report was published. Mathews was detained and released and a number of firearms were reportedly seized.

The police force said Wednesday there are no charges pending against Mathews.

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DND said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that Mathews was not under CAF supervision at the time he went missing and has already returned his military equipment. He was never issued any weapons, the agency said.

“As this is a civilian police matter, the CAF is not currently assisting with the RCMP’s search,” a spokesperson said. “However, we will fully co-operate with the RCMP’s investigation in any way we can, and we hope for the safe return of MCpl Mathews to his family.”​​

— With files from Global News’ Kevin Hirschfield and The Canadian Press

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