Convicted murderer escapes N.B. penitentiary

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Published Thursday, February 8, 2018 9:39AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 8, 2018 11:33AM EST

Authorities say a man convicted for murder more than two decades ago has escaped from the minimum security unit at the Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick.

Steven Bugden, 45, was not present when inmates were counted at the multi-level facility Wednesday night, according to Sackville RCMP. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

He is described as a five-foot-five, 188-pound white male with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Bugden was sentenced to life in prison for the second-degree murder of a young woman in Ottawa in 1997.

He was last seen at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the condo where he lived with four other inmates.

“They can walk out if they want,” Emile Belliveau, an assistant warden at Dorchester Penitentiary, told The Canadian Press. “There’s no walls or perimeter around the minimum sector at the Dorchester institution.”

Belliveau added that Bugden had been deemed a low risk to public safety, as there had been no incidents with him prior to his escape.

Police searched the area around the facility with dogs, and are now widening their scope. They say they’re also getting in touch with his family and looking into the possibility he might have hitched a ride out of the area.

“We don’t know his frame of mind at this point,” RCMP Const. Dan Hilchie said. “We’re trying to establish that, but he is in the custody of the Dorchester Penitentiary for a reason.”

Anyone who sees him is urged to stay clear and call police immediately at 506-364-5023, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Convicted murderer escapes N.B. penitentiary

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