ST. CATHARINES — A Canada-wide arrest warrant has been issued by the Niagara Regional Police Service for Justin Kuijer.
The warrant includes in a second-degree murder charge for the death of Kuijer’s seven-year-old stepson Nathan Dumas, as well as the attempted murder of an unidentified female RBC employee.
NRP media officer Const. Phil Gavin said that while the investigation team had originally planned on seeking a warrant for first-degree murder charge — as he had announced during a media scrum on Sunday afternoon — the decision was made on Monday morning to seek one for second-degree murder instead.
“It’s pivotal to us that we lay the most appropriate charges,” he said.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, there are certain conditions that need to be met to obtain a first-degree murder charge, whereas second-degree murder is simply defined as any murder that is not first-degree murder.
Nathan was found Friday morning at 10:15 a.m. with critical injuries in a Queenston Street apartment. He was rushed to hospital but died from his injuries early Saturday morning.
Shortly after Nathan was found, NRP say Kuijer walked into the RBC branch on Martindale Road and assaulted an unidentified female bank employee. Gavin has said the attack was not a domestic violence matter or an attempted robbery. He said the victim was known to Kuijer but not in a personal capacity.
While the female suffered serious injuries, Gavin said she is in stable condition in hospital. No one else was injured at the bank.
Kuijer, a 43-year-old St. Catharines man and former owner of a roofing company, has yet to be apprehended by police. He was last seen driving a dark grey 2009 Pontiac Montana van with the licence plate number BYTE 392. Anyone who spots Kuijer or the van is advised to call 911 or Crimestoppers and Gavin advised he is armed and dangerous.
A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign has been set up by friends of the Dumas family to raise money for the young boy’s burial. Nathan was described as an “energetic, loving and caring little boy”.
While his mother, Whitney, did not return phone calls she did post on her Facebook page thanking the community for their "overwhelming" support, kind words and well wishes.
"I understand that everyone has questions, it's human nature, so do I but this is truly not the appropriate time to be doing so I kindly ask that everyone respect my family’s privacy and space and allows my family this time to mourn the loss of my beautiful son," she said in her post.