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Ontario man wanted for first-degree murder in stepson’s death

Justin Kuijer is shown in a handout photo.

Niagara Regional Police Service/The Canadian Press

A 43-year-old man is wanted for first-degree murder in connection with the death of his stepson, who family friends described as a "loving little boy."

Niagara Regional Police said they planned to issue a Canada-wide arrest warrant on Monday for Justin Kuijer, who was also being sought in connection with a stabbing incident at a Royal Bank branch on Friday in which a woman was sent to hospital.

Nathan Dumas, 7, was found critically injured in a residence in St. Catharines, Ont., Friday morning. He was rushed to hospital, but died early Saturday. Police did not immediately reveal the cause of death.

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Friends of the boy's family started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for funeral costs. The campaign surpassed its $10,000 goal by Sunday afternoon.

"He was the most loving and caring little boy," the page read. "And now because of another he will never be able to grow into a fine young man and make a diff(e)rence in this cruel world."

Police said the boy is Kuijer's stepson, but revealed little information on the case.

They said Saturday that they were looking for Kuijer in connection with the bank stabbing.

The woman was stabbed by a man who entered the bank. He then fled. Police said the incident was not a robbery. They said Kuijer and the woman knew each other professionally. The woman was in stable condition in hospital.

Niagara Regional Police Const. Philip Gavin said the Canada wide-warrant would be on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Gavin said Kuijer has a vehicle and potentially could be far from the Niagara region.

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"We don't know his whereabouts," he said.

The case has been a tough one for police and the community, Gavin said.

"A situation like this, it impacts the community, it impacts the family," he said. "It's not easy, but we have a job to do, and we try to persevere through that."

Police called the suspect armed and dangerous. They said if members of the public see him, they should not approach him and call 911 immediately.

Kuijer was last seen wearing an orange hoodie under a brown leather coat, dark pants, a black toque, and boots, police said. There is a pink floral decal on the back window of the dark grey van he was driving that references missing person Ashley Simpson and "Missing Women of Canada."

The suspect van's licence number was BYTE392, police said.

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