Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.

VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Update:

Bellingham Police are reporting a possible sighting of a man who escaped from the Mission Institution’s minimum security unit last night.

Original story:

A man convicted of first-degree murder has escaped Mission Institution’s minimum security unit.

When prison staff were conducting the end-of-night head count at 10 p.m., they realized that Roderick Muchikekwanape was not present, Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) said in a news release.

The Mission RCMP detachment was contacted at 10:30 p.m., and issued a warrant for his arrest for being unlawfully at large, said Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP.

He said a risk assessment was conducted with CSC and the Parole Board of Canada, and there’s nothing to indicate he’s a threat to the general public.

“While we are aware that Roderick Muchikekwanape has a history of significant violence, we do not believe that he is an immediate threat to the general public,” said Berze. “If you see him, do not approach and call your local police.”

The Mission RCMP has assigned a team of five or six investigators from the serious crime unit, Berze said.

Muchikekwanape is currently serving a life sentence. In 1998, he was convicted of murdering Kimberly Clarke in Winnipeg as she was walking home from a party. Clarke was 36-years old, and a mother of three.

Clarke’s body was found floating in Red River, which passes through the center of Winnipeg. She had been sexually assaulted and battered, according to the autopsy report.

Muchikekwanape, 41, is described as six-feet tall, weighing 217 pounds, having medium complexion, and black hair and brown eyes.

CSC and RCMP officers will be investigating how Muchikekwanape was able to escape the prison, Berze said, but they are not prepared to talk about those specifics yet.

He did disclose that Muchikekwanape left the prison with a number of his personal belongings, an amount that “could fit into the size of a duffle bag,” and he was last seen in the prison at 7 p.m., Berze said.

The initial stages of the investigation involve speaking with the last CSC employees and neighbouring inmates he was in contact with, looking at CSC phone records and CCTV footage, canvassing the nearby neighbourhood, and then contacting family and friends and identifying places of interest, according to Berze.

“Avenues usually identify themselves from there,” Berze said. At this point within the detachment, it’s all hands on deck. So we have everyone on the lookout actively looking for him.”

Berze said he is not aware of Muchikekwanape being outside the prison for CSC programs.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts are asked to contact the Mission RCMP immediately.

“It’s important for the public to be diligent to be on the lookout, and to report anything at all that they may see. Any piece of information, or even suspicious activity, that they see could be helpful in locating and arresting him,” Berze said.

RELATED: Staff shortages plague Mission Institution following recovery from COVID-19 outbreak

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