Heavy RCMP presence in Whiteshell as search continues for Manitoba homicide suspect Eric Wildman

RCMP officers from across southern Manitoba as well as Ontario law enforcement, police dogs and air services are combing through the Whiteshell region on Thursday, looking for Manitoba homicide suspect Eric Wildman.

The Ontario Provincial Police said Thursday that OPP have been engaged with the RCMP for two days.

“This is still an active RCMP [investigation], we do not know Mr. Wildman’s whereabouts and have had no reports of him in Ontario at this time,” OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said via email Thursday morning.

Wildman was last seen in the Whiteshell Provincial Park area Wednesday night, heading east toward the Manitoba-Ontario border. 

RCMP tweeted Thursday morning that officers remain in the area and the public should expect a heavy police presence there.

Wildman, 34, is wanted in connection with the disappearance and presumed death of his neighbour Clifford Joseph, 40. RCMP are treating his disappearance as a homicide.

Wildman has been a suspect since at least June 12, one day after investigators found his abandoned vehicle in East Kildonan in Winnipeg. Inside, they found police tactical gear, guns, police patches and other items resembling police uniforms.

Police believe Wildman may be driving a grey 2020 Chevy Equinox, like the one in this stock image. The licence plate is KGE 368. (Manitoba RCMP)

The latest information on Wildman’s whereabouts includes confirmation from RCMP of sightings of him near Whiteshell Provincial Park.

He was seen in the Whitemouth area, east of Winnipeg, on Wednesday evening.

The 34-year-old was driving a 2020 Chevy Equinox SUV, licence plate KGE 368, and seen heading east on Highway 44 toward the Ontario border.

Police-related gear seized from Eric Wildman’s vehicle. (Manitoba RCMP)

Previous border restrictions were lifted by the Ontario government on Wednesday. Previously, vehicles passing into Ontario were stopped by Ontario Provincial Police officers and asked about the purpose of their visit before letting them in.

On Wednesday, RCMP released images from surveillance footage taken last Friday in a Lowe’s store on Panet Road in Winnipeg.

The images show Wildman walking into the store wearing shorts, a blue surgical mask and grey shirt. Another photo shows him shortly after leaving the store and arriving at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

RCMP said Wildman took a cab to the airport, where he rented a grey 2020 Chevy Equinox.

On Tuesday, there were reported sightings around Lockport, Man.

Wildman is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who thinks they’ve spotted him or his vehicle is asked not to approach him and call 911 or the RCMP tip line 431-489-8551.

Wildman and Joseph were neighbours in the rural municipality of St. Clements about 70 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Joseph was last seen leaving home in the morning of June 7. Police say his Ford Ranger truck was abandoned that day and recovered off Road 44 East, a rural area near Wildman’s property.

Vernon Karl Otto, 66, previously lived in the same St. Clements home prior to Joseph. Otto went missing in 2018; his burnt-out truck was located nearby, and police still consider his disappearance suspicious. Police say that investigation is not related to the current effort.

RCMP say they’re also taking into consideration the fact that Wildman’s father once shot a police officer in his youth.