MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Authorities in Canada and far northern Minnesota are urging residents to avoid contact and call police if they see a former Canadian Armed Forces reservist with alleged ties to a hate group.
Patrik Mathews, 26, has been missing for two weeks and was last seen by family members in Beausejour, northeast of Winnipeg, on Aug. 24, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Canadian authorities found his truck Monday on rural property in Piney, near the U.S.-Canadian border.
Authorities on both sides of the border continued searching for Mathews on Friday. They have been warning the public that Mathews should not be approached.
Mathews went missing after the Winnipeg Free Press reported last month that he has alleged ties to a hate group.
According to the Canadian Department of National Defence, the military’s intelligence unit has been investigating Mathews for “possible racist extremist activities” for several months.
Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande did not elaborate on the investigation, which she described as broad, and would not confirm whether Mathews has ties to a specific hate group.
Mathews, who had been a reservist with the Canadian Armed Forces since 2010, requested to leave the military in April and was relieved of duty Aug. 30. As a reservist, he had worked part-time. Mathews, a master corporal, was never deployed.
Mathews hasn’t been charged with a crime and there is no warrant for his arrest. Law enforcement seized a number of weapons from his house and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has said Mathews’ family is concerned for his well-being.
The RCMP said in a statement that the man “may be under a significant amount of pressure” due to the investigation and media coverage. It said anyone who sees Mathews should call police immediately and avoid engaging with him.
In Minnesota, Kittson County Sheriff Mark Wilwant said there’s a concern for public safety because of Mathews’ “ideologies.” The Roseau County Sheriff’s Office posted a message to its Facebook page warning residents not to approach Mathews.
Roseau County Sheriff Steve Gust said the public is keeping an eye out for Mathews. Gust said while there is no cause for alarm and nothing indicating Mathews is in his area, authorities are still taking precautions.
“I don’t know what he’s capable of doing,” he said.