As Justin Kuijer was formally charged with first-degree murder in the death of his stepson in a St. Catharines, Ont., court Thursday, he avoided making eye contact with anyone in the courtroom, including friends and family.
The accused's sisters were visibly upset and sobbed throughout the proceedings
Kuijer, 43, wearing a full beard and an orange jumpsuit, was ordered to make his next court appearance on April 19. A bail hearing has not been scheduled.
After a nationwide manhunt, Kuijer was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Kenora, Ont., ending a five-day search that began after Nathan Dumas was found in medical distress at his home last Friday. The seven-year-old died in hospital on Saturday.
A warrant was issued Monday for the St. Catharines man in Nathan's death and the stabbing last Friday of a woman at a local RBC branch.
Police said Kuijer would not have been apprehended so quickly without people widely sharing his image on social media.
He was captured nearly 2,000 kilometres from St. Catharines.
Jeff McGuire, chief of the Niagara Regional Police Service, said Kuijer was arrested by six uniformed Kenora police officers who responded to a 911 call from a citizen. The arrest warrant had described Kuijer as armed and dangerous.
Nathan's funeral will be held Friday, one week before what would have been the boy's eighth birthday.
Kevin Wilson lives on Ida Street, not far from where the boy lived on Queenston Street.
"It's just so sad that this has hit very close to home, as I'm a father of five and I have seven grandchildren and it's just very sad to see all the police around here in our community. Finally they caught the man," Wilson said.
"Hopefully he's put away for a long long time," he added