Nova Scotia RCMP announced Saturday that an inmate described as “dangerous” has been found and taken into custody.
Kevin Clarke-McNeil escaped the Northeast Correctional Facility in Pictou County around 8:30 p.m. on Friday, according to an emergency alert issued provincewide.
The alert said Clarke-McNeil is serving time on “serious criminal charges,” including attempted murder. It added that he may have been heading to the Halifax area.
The Northeast Correctional Facility is less than a two-hour drive from Halifax.
There was a heavy police presence in the area between Coalburn and Priestville as RCMP searched for Clarke-McNeil.
RCMP Sgt. Andrew Joyce from Pictou County said that after receiving the report from the Northeast Correctional Facility, police dispatched their canine units to attend the scene, and maintained heavy police presence in the area throughout the night.
“We observed vehicle tracks along the roadway in that area, fresh vehicle tracks, unknowing if it was related to that or not,” said Joyce in a phone interview with Global News.
He said police received numerous calls of sightings throughout the province, until Guysborough RCMP received a report of a suspicious fire at 8:27 a.m. Saturday.
This was followed by further reports of an ATV on a roadway and a stolen ATV, all within Guysborough County.
“The RCMP of that area connected the dots to believe that this was possibly Clarke-McNeil of this incident, to throw some further intel, we determined that the vehicle was headed towards Halifax Regional Municipality,” said Joyce.
Through a co-ordinated effort with RCMP in Halifax District and a short pursuit by police, Clarke-McNeil was apprehended on the MacDonald Cove Road, east of Sheet Harbour in Halifax Regional Municipality, at approximately 9:45 a.m.
“We don’t get a lot of escaped inmates in Nova Scotia. But there have been escapes from custody on various levels. So it’s not something that is common. But it is something that it does occur,” Joyce said, “when there is an escape from custody, whether it be from the actual institution or from, say, a transportation vehicle between, say, the institution and the courthouse or something along that level.”
In a statement released by the RCMP, police said Clarke-McNeil incurred minor, non-life-threatening injuries in the incident.
The Nova Scotia Justice Department said Clarke-McNeil is originally from Ontario and has been incarcerated at the facility since December 2019.
He was previously incarcerated at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility, and in December 2019 Clarke-McNeil was charged in relation to an assault of a 46-year-old male inmate by 15 people at the facility.
According to the police, the victim at that time sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to hospital.
The department said Correctional Services will conduct a full review of the recent incident.