It took an anonymous tip to alert Whitehorse media that Marcellus Jacob had breached his parole and was now, officially, missing.
It took the Whitehorse RCMP’s M division two days to confirm the existence of a Canada-wide warrant the correctional service issued for Jacob after he failed to return to his Vancouver halfway house.
The warrant was issued Sunday.
The media received its tip-off early Monday morning. And they confirmed the information by 11 a.m.
It took the RCMP another 24 hours to do the same thing.
It wasn’t until late Tuesday morning that police issued a seven-paragraph news release confirming Jacob was on the lam.
“The RCMP ‘M’ division has confirmed that an arrest warrant exists for Marcellus Jacob,” it said.
“A Canada-wide arrest warrant was issued for Marcellus Norman Jacob on Sunday, November 26, 2006, by the Correctional Service of Canada.”
But the RCMP’s damage-control effort simply reveals a deeper problem.
There’s something wrong inside the force if it takes two days to confirm the existence of a Canada-wide warrant.
Especially one issued for a high-profile sicko like Jacob.
He’s one of the most notorious sex offenders the territory has produced.
Jacob has a long history of violence against small children, women and animals. He has a history of setting fires and of committing property offences.
But it was a particularly sadistic sexual assault of a local woman in 2001 that landed him in jail.
For that crime he was sentenced to seven years.
He was released on October 27th, having served just 4.5 years.
In prison, he was suspended from the Sex Offender Maintenance Program. He also continued to smoke pot.
The parole board says Jacob is at high risk to reoffend.
He told the parole board he wanted to return to Whitehorse.
But, an advisory council set up by the local Adult Rehabilitation Centre rejected his application.
It wasn’t in the community’s best interest, or his, it said.
So he was released in Vancouver under strict conditions.
It took him less than a month to breach them.
And now he’s missing.
“To date, there are no indications that Jacob plans to return to the Yukon,” said the RCMP release.
Except, of course, that he expressly told the parole board that he wanted to return here.
Now he’s MIA.
And, given the guy’s history, most Whitehorse residents are concerned about it.
What’s more disturbing, it seems it took local inquiries to prompt the RCMP to act on the Jacob file.
“Due to an increase in local inquiries on Jacob, the RCMP in the Yukon was able to confirm, through internal checks with the National Parole Board and Correctional Service of Canada, that an arrest warrant was issued for Jacob,” said the RCMP.
That’s too little, too late.
Jacob is a dangerous guy.
“Alcohol and drugs have been significant factors to his offending and it is likely Jacob has returned to his substance abuse at this time,” said a fact sheet attached to the RCMP release.
“In the past, Jacob has been sexually violent toward both adult and teenage females. He has a long history of violent and property related offences and is considered a high risk to reoffend sexually and/or violently.”
Why did it take local inquiries to get police action on the file?
Why did it take two days for the RCMP to confirm, through internal channels, that, indeed, he was on the loose?
And why did it take an anonymous tip to alert the media?
Clearly, the RCMP has a serious communication problem.
It must be fixed.
Because, in cases like this, the public has to be told what’s going on.
It’s an issue of public safety. (RM)