Premier wants answers on mental health detainee who fled, calls man a ‘nutcase’

TORONTO — Ontario’s premier vowed Thursday to get to the bottom of how a patient detained at a mental health hospital for killing his roommate managed to flee, calling the man a “nutcase.”

Zhebin Cong, who was found not criminally responsible for the death of his roommate, had been on an unaccompanied trip into the community from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on July 3 when he failed to return, the hospital said.

CAMH said it reported the 47-year-old’s disappearance later that day to police, who issued a notice asking for the public’s help in finding the man nearly two weeks later.

Toronto police have said CAMH told them Cong presented a low risk to public safety, but the Ontario Review Board, which evaluates the status and assesses the risk of anyone found not criminally responsible, found in its most recent decision in April that he continued to pose a significant threat to public safety.

Premier Doug Ford phoned in to a talk radio show Thursday on NewsTalk1010 to say he’s “disgusted.”

“What is the family thinking of the poor victim that got chopped up with a meat cleaver by this nutcase and then they let him loose out on the streets,” he said.

Ford said he would be speaking Thursday with Toronto police, the review board and CAMH.

“Someone’s going to be answering because if you’re calling this low risk, what is high risk?” he said. “These crazy, crazy people that want to go around chopping people up, they’re out on the streets.”

CAMH said it was doing an internal review and is reassessing all existing passes and privileges for patients, especially those who have unsupervised access to the community.

Police say Cong has fled the country and they are working with international law enforcement agencies to track him down.

Records from the Ontario Review Board show Cong killed his roommate with a meat cleaver in 2014 and was found non-criminally responsible on a charge of second-degree murder as a result of his mental illness.

Cong was an in-patient at the secured forensic unit of CAMH and deals with schizophrenia, the records show.

He was granted a pass to the community by medical officials that allowed him to leave the hospital for a fixed purpose on the condition that he return at a fixed time.

In its April decision, the board found Cong’s condition had slightly improved with ongoing anti-psychotic medication, but that he did not fully understand his mental illness, its symptoms and his risk of relapse and violence.

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