Anyone helping escaped inmate may face criminal charges: RCMP

'It is a serious offence to escape lawful custody and a serious offence to aid in any way, before, during or after the fact, this escape from lawful custody,' police said in a press conference Thursday.

Denecho King, 23, charged with murder and attempted murder, escaped from jail Wednesday morning

Yellowknife RCMP press conference on search for Denecho King

7 years ago
Duration 8:21
Yellowknife RCMP gave a press conference Thursday afternoon, updating media and the public about the ongoing search for escaped prisoner Denecho King.

RCMP are warning the public that anyone helping Denecho King, who escaped from Yellowknife's jail Wednesday, may face criminal charges.

"Anyone withholding information on the whereabouts of King ... that knowingly withholds this information and assists King in any way may be subject to charges under the Criminal Code of Canada," said Yellowknife RCMP detachment commander Insp. Matt Peggs.

"It is a serious offence to escape lawful custody and a serious offence to aid in any way, before, during or after the fact, this escape from lawful custody."

  • Anyone with information is asked to call 765-3956.

King, who is charged with murder and attempted murder, escaped from Yellowknife's jail at about 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday.

Denecho King, who was in custody pending charges of second degree murder and attempted murder, escaped from custody at Yellowknife's North Slave Correctional Centre on Wednesday. RCMP are advising the public not to approach King. (Yellowknife RCMP)

King, 23, is described as 5 foot 8 and 150 pounds, with light facial hair (mustache) and a short crew cut. He was last seen wearing a green shirt and grey sweatpants, though police advise he may have changed his clothing.

Addressing Yellowknife residents, Peggs told them to "be vigilant and look after your own personal safety."

"Regular safety tips should apply. Be aware of your surroundings. Lock your doors. Know where your family is, and above all, apply common sense.

"We ask you not to approach King under any circumstances. Call the RCMP and we will attend."

Search continues

He thanked the public for their tips and for their co-operation in traffic checkstops.

When asked how long the search will continue, Peggs said "Until we find him."

He said every available officer from every unit was assigned to the search on Wednesday, including the emergency response team, police dog services and officers from neighbouring detachments.

"We'll continue to use the necessary resources," he said.

Doug Seed's home backs onto the fence of the North Slave Correctional Centre. He's hoping an escaped inmate isn't hanging around his neighbourhood. (CBC)

Few details on escape

According to the N.W.T. Department of Justice, it's the first time anyone has escaped from the North Slave Correctional Centre since it was built in 2004. 

The department says corrections officials have determined what area of the facility King escaped from, but it is not releasing those details. 

However, it says inmates are now restricted from that area.

Peggs said the details of King's escape are part of the investigation and would not be released.

In a news release yesterday, the Department of Justice said a critical incident review "will be completed to determine the circumstances and improvements required."

Doug Seed, who lives in the new neighbourhood beside the jail, says he's keeping his doors locked and hopes the fugitive is long gone. 

"The thought is, if he escaped from the prison behind us, he's likely somewhere other than this place," he said. 

"If a fellow's leaving this close, you'd think he'd move on, but then again, outside of the City of Yellowknife there isn't a lot in the surrounding area, so I'm sure there'll be some concern for the neighbourhood yet and the city."

The fence of the North Slave Correctional Centre in Yellowknife. A man charged with murder and attempted murder escaped custody Wednesday. (CBC)

2nd degree murder, attempted murder

King is charged with second-degree murder in the death of John Wifladt and with the attempted murder of Colin Digness in December 2014.

The two men were found seriously injured in an apartment on the third floor of Sunridge Place on Yellowknife's 51 Avenue. Wifladt died later in hospital. Digness was medevaced to Edmonton for treatment.

King was charged five months later.

RCMP ask anyone who believes they've spotted King or has seen anything suspicious to call the Yellowknife detachment phone line at 867-765-3956.