Manitoba RCMP have charged a man with first-degree murder after an investigation into the death of 40-year-old Clifford Joseph.
Joseph, from the RM of St. Clements, was reported missing on June 7.
“We became aware pretty quickly that his disappearance was suspicious,” said superintendent Michael Koppang, officer in charge of major crime services for the Manitoba RCMP.
“We could not have anticipated at the outset the events that would come next — a manhunt, shots fired at officers, and finally an arrest. Through all of it, our investigators worked tirelessly to find out what happened to Mr. Joseph.”
Officers attended Headingley Correctional Centre on Thursday to formally arrest and charge Eric Wildman, 34, from the RM of St. Clements, who was already in custody on previous charges.
Wildman is scheduled to appear in a Winnipeg courtroom today and remains in custody.
“We offer Mr. Joseph’s family our sincere condolences on their loss. We hope that by laying this charge, we can offer Mr. Joseph’s family some answers as to what happened to their loved one, and help them find some peace,” said Supt. Koppang.
RCMP soon after began an extensive search for Wildman, warning he was armed and dangerous and that police tactical equipment and other items resembling uniforms had been found in his vehicle.
After a weeklong manhunt, Wildman was arrested in a shootout with police in Ontario.
Ontario Provincial Police said when officers entered a home just outside of Belleville, east of Toronto, they were met with gunfire. They said crisis negotiators were eventually able to get Wildman to surrender.
RCMP say the investigation into Joseph’s death involved several departments, including search and rescue and air services, as well as assistance from five other agencies. More than 100 officers participated in the manhunt and the homicide investigation.
June 7: Selkirk RCMP received a report that Clifford Joseph, 40, was missing from the RM of St. Clements.
June 11: Joseph’s disappearance now being investigated as suspicious in nature. Major Crime Services takes the lead. Eric Wildman, 34, became a person of interest in the disappearance. RCMP located Wildman’s vehicle in Winnipeg. The increased risk to public safety became apparent.
June 12: First alert sent by RCMP regarding Wildman. We asked for information and advised that Wildman is considered armed and dangerous.
June 13: A search warrant was obtained, and Wildman’s vehicle was searched. Police 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.
June 14: RCMP alert public that Wildman is a suspect in the homicide of Joseph, ask for information, and warn public not to approach him.
June 15: RCMP conduct property searches in the RM of St. Clements related to this investigation and release information about a vehicle Wildman was believed to be driving.
June 16: RCMP release photos of Wildman, who was seen at Lowe’s on Panet Road in Winnipeg. He was then seen in the Lockport area, headed east. RCMP attend the Whiteshell area searching for him and remain there through June 17.
June 18: Wildman taken into custody by the Ontario Provincial Police just outside the City of Belleville, Ontario. He was then transported back to Manitoba by RCMP.
June 19: Wildman charged and remanded.
July 18: Human remains located in Stead, Manitoba.
July 27: Human remains identified as Clifford Joseph.
September 9: Wildman charged with First Degree Murder and remanded.
— With files from The Canadian Press