Manitoba

Former army reservist linked to neo-Nazi group missing, sought by RCMP

RCMP are searching for Patrik Mathews, whose alleged ties to a Neo-Nazi group led to his ejection from the Armed Forces this week.

Patrik Mathews was reported missing after being accused of recruiting for The Base

Police are searching for Patrik Mathews, who was released from Canada's Army Reserves after he was accused of recruiting for a neo-Nazi paramilitary group known as The Base. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

The man accused of recruiting for a global neo-Nazi terrorist group while serving in Canada's Army Reserves has gone missing, and his boss is pleading with him to contact his distraught family.

On Monday, Beausejour RCMP in Manitoba got a missing persons report for Patrik Mathews, 26, who was last seen on Saturday evening by his father, who reported him missing on Monday evening.

Mathews's alleged ties to the group known as The Base led to his release from the Armed Forces this week.

"Efforts to contact and locate him by family and police have been unsuccessful since the report was received," says an RCMP statement.

"This is a missing person investigation. There is no warrant for arrest and there are no charges pending against the individual."

Mathews's boss last saw him on Friday. He asked for permission to leave work early so he could turn in his military kit and resign from the Forces.

"I told him, 'We'll ride this out with you, we've got your back, but I can't see any scenario that will play out well unless you disassociate from that group,'" said his boss, who is not being named by CBC News because he owns a construction company in rural Manitoba and is concerned about putting his livelihood at risk. Mathews does not work in the community in which he lives.

His boss expected Mathews to phone him early Monday morning to get details on his roofing job, which Mathews does like clockwork every day, but that call never came.

He tried to reach Mathews, but his phone went straight to voicemail, something his boss said is unusual — he would always answer unless he's in an area with no cellphone service.
Family members are concerned for the well-being of Patrik Mathews, who hasn't been seen since Saturday. (RCMP)

Later that day, when Mathews's father called to see if he was at work, everyone started getting concerned, the boss said.

His father, who asked not to be named, told CBC News he'd been in daily touch with his son, but hadn't received response to texts and calls since Saturday. His father said he went to his house in Beausejour on Monday and Tuesday, but there was no sign of his son, who had taken his laptop but little else.

"We're hoping for the best … but we get more concerned every day that passes."

Mathews asked to be relieved

Mathews asked to be relieved of his duties with the military in April, when the military first started questioning him about his views.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Department of National Defence said they are aware of the RCMP's missing person investigation for him. 

"As a reservist, Master Cpl. Mathews works part time for the military, and was not under CAF supervision at the time he went missing. His unit was stood down in early May, with an expected return to work the second week of September. (Reserve units are often stood down over the summer in order for members to take summer leave and/or continue with their civilian employment).

"Master Cpl. Mathews was never issued any military weapons, as neither reservist nor regular force personnel are permitted to store military weapons at home," the statement said.

"As this is a civilian police matter, the CAF is not currently assisting with the RCMP's search. However, we will fully co-operate with the RCMP's investigation in any way we can, and we hope for the safe return of Master Cpl. Mathews to his family."

Mathews had been with the Forces for eight years, where he worked as a combat engineer and was trained in the use of explosives. On Tuesday evening, the military sent a statement saying Mathews had been relieved from his position following the allegations made about his involvement with neo-Nazis.

"Which is essentially suspended," Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of defence staff, told Vassy Kapelos of Power & Politics on Wednesday. He said the first indication that there was a problem with his viewpoints was in April, and Mathews started getting counselling, but in July — and because of things Vance said he was unable to disclose — it escalated.

"He was under full-fledged analysis investigation by our national counter-intelligence unit," said Vance. 

A spokesperson told CBC News that Mathews, a master corporal with the Winnipeg-based 38 Canadian Brigade Group, "will no longer be a participant in military activities in any form, and will not be returning to work.

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

The military and RCMP are continuing to investigate his alleged ties to The Base, a hate group that seeks to gain military training to prepare for what they see as a coming race war. Posters for the group began popping up around Winnipeg in late July. 

Mathews's alleged involvement was detailed in a series in the Winnipeg Free Press after a reporter went undercover to pose as a white supremacist and met a man who was recruiting members. Vance said the military took additional action after "learning things" from the story.

Mathews's boss saw the first story, which didn't identify the recruiter.

However, he recognized the description of Mathews, so he and his son contacted RCMP and told them Mathews had legal possession of some firearms. Mathews's father told CBC News he also knew about the firearms, which he said is not uncommon in rural areas. He added his son followed regulations and always kept them registered.

The next day, RCMP raided Mathews's home in Beausejour and seized multiple firearms. He has not been charged with any crime.

Mathews is believed to be driving his 2010 Dodge Ram (photo not actual vehicle). (Beausejour RCMP)

'We've never seen that side of him'

Mathews's boss described him as highly functional, a good worker and well-read.

His father said he is kind-hearted, not violent and not a risk to public safety. He said he's extremely grateful to the boss, who gave his son a chance to prove himself. He just wants his son to return home safely.

Mathews's boss said co-workers have heard him talk about some white nationalist ideologies, but they are shocked about his alleged involvement in a hate group. His father added he himself despises the group and its ideologies.

"People think he's a monster, but we've never seen that side of him," says Mathews's boss. 

"If you know him, you'd feel more empathy because he does have challenges. If we would turn our backs on him, the last thing he needs to be doing is sitting at home on the internet."

Mathews's boss doesn't feel Mathews is capable of hurting himself or anyone else.

"My biggest concern is [that] I would like to hear some news, [to] know what's going on.

"Pat, if you're out there, please call your dad," the boss added.

His family has asked for privacy.

Mathews is described as:

  • Five feet 10 inches tall.
  • Weighing 180 pounds.
  • Blue eyes and blond hair.
  • He is believed to be driving a red 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT with Manitoba licence plate number: HXJ 806

Anyone who may know the whereabouts of Mathews can call the Beausejour RCMP at 204-268-1234 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or go online at www.manitobacrimestoppers.com.

With files from Vassy Kapelos