Manitoban whose week-long run from law ended in Ontario standoff now charged with killing neighbour

A man who was the focus of a week-long police search after the disappearance of his neighbour is now charged with first-degree murder in the case.

Eric Wildman, 34, went on the run from the police in June, after his rural Manitoba neighbour Clifford Joseph, 40, went missing.

Wildman was the subject of a week-long search after police announced they were treating Joseph’s disappearance on June 7 as a homicide. Investigators identified Wildman, from the rural municipality of St. Clements, as a person of interest.

Joseph’s remains were found in the area of Stead, Man., about 75 kilometres north of Winnipeg, on July 18.

During the search for Wildman, police said they found an abandoned vehicle belonging to Wildman in Winnipeg, with weapons and replica police clothing inside it.

Wildman was arrested on June 18 at a home in Belleville, Ont., about 1,600 kilometres east of the area where he and Joseph were neighbours.

He already faces two charges of attempted murder after police said shots were fired when they arrived at a Belleville home to arrest him.

Wildman is scheduled to appear in court on Friday, police said in a news release.

Joseph’s disappearance and the search for Wildman put communities on edge, as police warned they considered him armed and dangerous.

The first alert about Wildman went out on June 12, when police announced they considered him a person of interest.

The day before, police had found his vehicle abandoned in Winnipeg. Inside it, they found firearms, police-style tactical equipment, police patches, other items resembling police clothing, and red and blue lights that could be attached to the interior of a vehicle, they said.

People reported sightings of Wildman in the days that followed, including at a Lowe’s store on Panet Road in Winnipeg, then later in the Lockport area and heading east.

Ontario Provincial Police tracked him to a house in Belleville and arrested him on June 18, the same day investigators in Manitoba found Joseph’s remains.