RCMP Manitoba is glad to see an interprovincial search come to a close with a homicide suspect and his associate in custody.
Early Friday morning in Belleville, Ontario, located between Ottawa and Toronto, 34-year-old Eric Wildman, wanted in relation to the homicide investigation of Clifford Joseph, was located by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
"I can confirm that it was through this national media coverage that ultimately resulted in residents of Ontario identifying the vehicle and promptly notifying the police." RCMP Manitoba Superintendent Michael Koppang says in a statement.
When the police arrived to apprehend the homicide suspect from Manitoba, shots were fired at the officers.
Because of police-like gear and firearms found in Wildman's abandoned vehicle last week, officers considered him armed and dangerous.
"It is during this search, that officers found firearms, police-style tactical equipment, police patches, other items resembling police clothing and red/blue lights that could be affixed to the interior of a vehicle."
OPP officers and Wildman began negotiations and he, and the house's male occupant were arrested. There were no injuries.
Wildman is being charged with Unsafe Transportation of a Firearm and Possession of a Prohibited Device without a Licence. RCMP expects more charges to be laid later.
RCMP Manitoba is in Ontario, working with the OPP on the investigation, deciding what their next steps will be.
The search for Wildman began after 40-year-old Joseph Clifford went missing from his St. Clements home.
"This investigation truly began 11 days ago, on Monday, June 7, when the Manitoba RCMP received a report that 40-year-old Clifford Joseph was missing. A few days after that initial call, it became clear to us that the disappearance was suspicious in nature."
RCMP announced Wildman was a suspect in his disappearance, and on Tuesday, that disappearance was classified as a homicide.
"There were confirmed and credible sightings of Eric and the vehicle on June 11 in Winnipeg and June 15 in Lockport as well as a sighting of the vehicle in the early evening of June 16 in the Whitemouth area. During this week, we investigated numerous tips that led us to similar vehicles and suspicious occurrences."
Police have not yet released why they are investigating the disappearance as a homicide, or how the two are connected other than residing in the same R.M.
"On behalf of the investigative team, I want to thank all Manitobans who took the time to call in tips, and I would also like to thank every RCMP employee who worked tirelessly on this search as well as our brothers and sisters in the Winnipeg Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police for their work. They were always there when we needed them."
With files from Sylvia St. Cyr