Convicted murderer escapes from custody

William Wade Bicknell - RCMP
William Wade Bicknell
— image credit: RCMP

A murderer convicted of killing a Maple Ridge mother in 2001 escaped from custody Thursday night after overpowering a prison guard near Edmonton and holding him hostage.

William Wade Bicknell, 42, attacked the lone guard and got control of the vehicle they were travelling in on his way out of Edmonton around 8 p.m.

Bicknell was in the city on a temporary absence pass from the Drumheller Correctional Institution, where he was serving a prison term for second-degree murder.

With the guard as a hostage, police allege Bicknell returned to Edmonton, where he stole several firearms and some ammunition.

Bicknell then drove to a home in a rural area of Chipman, northeast of Edmonton, and forced his way inside.

Police say Bicknell knows the homeowner, and took the man's 2009 Grey Chevrolet Impala with Alberta licence plates CXE 602.

Bicknell's whereabouts are unknown and police consider him to be armed and dangerous.

His sister, Sanda Lynn Myshak, was charged Friday with seven charges connected to aiding and abetting Bicknell's escape.

Bicknell was found guilty of brutally murdering Angela Steer and was sentenced in 2003 to life without parole for 25 years.

Steer's beaten body was found on the side of a road in Mission.

Steer, 37, worked as a cook at at Paliotti's, a local Italian restaurant. Years before, she operated Angie's Grill at the Haney Hotel.

She lived in Abbotsford from 1978 to 1998 before moving to Maple Ridge, and graduated from Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

Bicknell confessed to her murder in an undercover police operation as officers pretended they were recruiting him into an organized crime gang.

On those tapes he explained how he struck Steer in the head with a baseball bat, then drove to Chilliwack and back with her body in garbage bags before dumping it.

Bicknell also claimed that she hit him first and threatened to tell police about his alleged involvement in marijuana grow operations and a debit-card scam.

Bicknell, 42, is 6' 6" and weighs 402 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes with a fair complexion. He has several tattoos, including full sleeves on both arms, a unicorn on his left shoulder, a cobra on his left arm, and a heart on his chest.

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Bicknell is asked to contact the Fort Saskatchewan RCMP at 780-992-6100 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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