RCMP say a homicide suspect feared armed and dangerous — and possibly in possession of gear resembling that used by police — was believed to be spotted on Highway 44, just east of Whitemouth Wednesday evening.
They say he was driving a grey 2020 Chevy Equinox and seen heading east on Highway 44 at 7 p.m.
Whitemouth is less than 80 kilometres from the Ontario boundary.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, RCMP said they had credible information about a sighting of Wildman on Tuesday in the area of Lockport, Man., about 30 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
Police warn not to approach Wildman and to call 911 immediately if he or his vehicle is spotted.
A heavy police presence is expected throughout the Whiteshell area, RCMP said.
“All possible RCMP resources are being deployed to bring Eric Wildman safely into custody,” RCMP said in a release.
Wildman is wanted in the disappearance of Clifford Joseph, who was last seen leaving his home in the RM of St. Clements on June 7.
Police say the 40-year-old’s disappearance is being investigated as a homicide and a warrant has been issued for Wildman’s arrest.
Mounties warn that officers found police tactical equipment, patches and other items resembling officer uniforms when they searched WIldman’s truck on Sunday.
They also found a significant number of firearms and ammunition in the truck.
Wildman had previously last been seen in Winnipeg’s East Kildonan area, but Mounties have said they are searching throughout southern Manitoba.
Police have already said they believe Wildman may be driving a charcoal grey 2020 Chevy Equinox, with the Manitoba licence plate KGE 368.
They also released new photos of Wildman Wednesday, taken by a security camera at the Lowe’s Home Improvement store on Panet Road in Winnipeg on June 11.
RCMP say Wildman was caught on camera in the Lowe’s at 6:41 p.m. before he was seen leaving around 6:55 p.m. They say Wildman took a cab to the Winnipeg International Airport where he entered the terminal and rented the Chevy Equinox at 7:25 p.m.
He was wearing shorts, a T-shirt, a white camouflage ball cap and a surgical mask in the photos released Wednesday.
Sgt. Laura LeDrew with the major crimes unit said Mounties don’t know where Wildman might be heading, but are following up all leads.
“We’ve received numerous tips,” she said Wednesday.
LeDrew said Mounties were still searching land in St. Clements that belongs to Wildman. The large rural property has burned-out cars, scrap metal and rubble from a residence that burned down. She said officers are looking for evidence as well as the remains of Joseph.
The investigation does not indicate a connection between Wildman and another man who disappeared from the same area a few years ago, she said.
Vernon Karl Otto was reported missing in 2018. His burned-out truck was found but Otto has never been located. Both the missing men lived in the same house but at different times. Wildman was their neighbour.
“The fact that they happen to be neighbours, we are very aware,” LeDrew said. “But there is no connection between the two.”
Police are asking Manitobans not to approach Wildman and to call 911 if he’s spotted, or the RCMP tip line at 431-489-8551 with information.
–With files from The Canadian Press