Mounties are sharing that more than one thousand hours of search efforts has led to the arrest of a previous manhunt suspect.
Since June, RCMP Manitoba has been investigating the disappearance, and later learnt death, of 40-year-old Clifford Joseph. A search for suspect Eric Wildman began on June 12 and the next day RCMP discovered police-like tactical equipment, patches, and clothing in the suspect's vehicle.
“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," Superintendent Michael Koppang, Officer in Charge of Major Crime Services for the Manitoba RCMP says in a statement.
Continuing to inform the public and issue alerts, Wildman sightings were reported in parts of Winnipeg and further east. Ontario Provincial police discovered him near the City of Belleville on June 18. At the same time, authorities located Joseph's remains in Stead, Manitoba.
“We went through some difficult terrain, and some pretty hot and unforgiving conditions looking for anything that could assist in determining what had happened to Clifford Joseph. When we located Mr. Joseph’s remains, it was with a heavy heart that we advised the investigators. Our sincere condolences to those who knew Mr. Joseph," Staff Sergent. Kelly Glaspey, head of the RCMP Search and Rescue Unit says.
The next day Wildman was remanded into Manitoban custody.
“My heart goes out to Clifford Joseph’s family and friends,” Sergeant. Morgan Page, lead investigator with RCMP Manitoba Major Crime Services says in a statement. “With all the public attention on Wildman during the manhunt and public safety advisories, we always kept Clifford front and centre in our focus. We never lost sight of what had happened – that a man had lost his life, and we were the ones responsible for finding out what happened.”
On Thursday, RCMP officers visited Wildman at Headingley Correctional Centre, formally charging him with First Degree Murder.
"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," Koppang says.
In total, more than 100 officers, 1050 hours, and 15 days of searching were dedicated to this manhunt. An extremely long list of resources was used, both police and civilian.
- RCMP Emergency Response Team
- RCMP Police Dog Services
- RCMP Critical Incident Command
- RCMP Air Services
- RCMP Forensic Identification Section
- RCMP Criminal Intelligence Analysts
- RCMP Communications and Media Relations
- Winnipeg Police Service
- Ontario Provincial Police
- Office of the Fire Commissioner, Province of Manitoba
- Winnipeg Search and Rescue (WINSAR)
- Dr. Emily Holland, a Forensic Anthropologist, and two of her students, Brandon University