Manitoba homicide suspect arrested at home of family friend, OPP says
WINNIPEG -- A court date for a Manitoba man who was the focus of an intense search by RCMP last week has been moved to July.
Eric Wildman, 34, has been charged in Manitoba with three firearms offences and possession of a prohibited device without a licence – charges stemming from searches earlier this month of a vehicle he owned and his property south of Stead, Man, in the R.M. of St. Clements.
Wildman, who was arrested by Ontario Provincial Police last week at a home in Prince Edward County just outside Belleville, was wanted in Manitoba last week in connection with the mysterious disappearance of his neighbour, 40-year-old Clifford Joseph. Joseph’s body hasn’t been found but RCMP investigators believe he’s the victim of a homicide.
During the search, RCMP warned the public Wildman may be armed and dangerous and released photos of police-related clothing and equipment recovered from his vehicle along with firearms.
Wildman was scheduled to appear in Manitoba provincial court Wednesday on the firearms charges but the case has been adjourned until July 12.
He has not been charged in connection with Joseph’s disappearance but police have said he remains a suspect in the case.
Police in Ontario have obtained a Canada-wide warrant for Wildman’s arrest on one count of attempted murder with a firearm of OPP officers, one count of attempted murder with a firearm of an unknown person, and one count of possession of a restricted firearm without a licence stemming from his arrest just outside of Belleville on June 18.
“Both counts of attempted murder related to one set of actions on the part of the accused, Mr. Wildman,” said Det. Insp. Brad Collins, case manager with the OPP’s criminal investigation branch. “There was no other individual involved in this takedown. It was basically the police, Mr. Wildman, and the homeowner present at the location of his arrest on Massassauga Road in Prince Edward County.”
The OPP said six shots were fired when they executed a search warrant at the home after learning Wildman may be inside. Police said officers did not return fire.
With the help of crisis negotiators, Wildman and the homeowner eventually exited the home. Police said the homeowner was questioned and released and hasn’t been charged. Collins confirmed to CTV News Winnipeg the homeowner was a friend of Wildman’s late father.
“There’s no culpability that we can see on his part,” said Collins. “The accused, it seems, knew the homeowner from a prior family relationship and it would seem he had sought out the homeowner to obtain a discreet location, perhaps to avoid detection.”
Officers said they recovered a Glock 9 mm semi-automatic pistol and ballistic evidence from the scene. Police also said they recovered ammunition from the vehicle Wildman had been driving and seized a Chevy Equinox, the same kind of vehicle Wildman was believed to be driving in Manitoba.
Wildman has been transported back to Manitoba where he remains in custody.
The OPP said once the warrant is executed on the attempted murder offences, police and courts in both Ontario and Manitoba will work together to figure out how to manage the charges in each province.