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‘Every available officer’ being used in search for Denecho King

Every available police officer in Yellowknife is being used in the search for escaped prisoner and alleged killer Denecho King.

RCMP Insp. Matt Peggs, the Yellowknife detachment commander, briefed reporters on the ongoing manhunt Thursday afternoon.

King escaped from the North Slave Correctional Centre on Wednesday morning.

Denecho Noel King, 23, escaped from Yellowknife's North Slave Correctional Centre Wednesday morning.
23-year-old Denecho Noel King.

The 23-year-old has a “long history of violent and drug offences to his name,” according to RCMP.

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Last May, he was charged with second-degree murder in the death of John Wifladt and with the attempted murder of Colin Digness.

He also has a number of drug possession and mischief charges on his record dating back to 2010.

On Thursday, Peggs told reporters King remains unlawfully at large and that he’s been charged with escaping lawful custody.

While Peggs couldn’t say much about the ongoing investigation, he did say Yellowknife residents can expect a heightened police presence until King is back into custody.

That means an increase in neighbourhood and roadside checks in addition to witness interviews wherever necessary.

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Peggs says officers are following up on ‘numerous’ investigative leads and tips, and won’t stop until the alleged killer is back behind bars.

The detachment commander also issued a warning to anyone who may be aware of King’s location.

“Anyone with information on the whereabouts of King being unlawfully at large, that knowingly withholds this information and assists King in any way, may be subject to charges under the Criminal Code of Canada,” he said.

“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 person is being held on very serious charges and it is a matter of public safety that he be returned to custody.”


Meanwhile, corrections officials have determined how King escaped the facility and are preventing other inmates from accessing the area where he left from.

His escape is the first since the North Slave Correctional Centre opened back in 2004.

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Sue Glowach, communications advisor with the territory’s Department of Justice, says it would be premature to comment further until a full review is completed.

On Wednesday, justice officials said a full critical incident review had been ordered to determine the circumstances that led to King’s escape and to identify areas for improvement going forward.


Earlier Thursday, police said King should be considered dangerous as he’s facing serious criminal charges.

“The public needs to remain vigilant and report any sightings, or suspicious activity to the RCMP immediately. At no time should anyone of the public approach [him],” said RCMP in a statement.

The escaped prisoner stands 5ft 8in tall and weighs approximately 150 lbs with a medium build. He’s also described as having a light mustache and short crew cut.

If you know anything about King’s whereabouts, or see anything suspicious, contact Yellowknife RCMP at (867) 669-1111 or call the detachment’s tip line at (867) 765-3956.

You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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