Manhunt on for convicted killer who escaped Canadian prison, spotted in Bellingham

A manhunt is on for a man who is supposed to be serving a life sentence in a Canadian prison but somehow escaped, crossed the border and hitched a ride to Bellingham where he was spotted near the intersection of Hannegan Road and East Sunset Drive, investigators said.

That intersection is just a 15-minute walk to the freeway and authorities have extended the manhunt to the entire I-5 corridor.

The man was serving his life sentence at a minimum-security prison in British Columbia until Thursday night at around 7:30 p.m., which is when Canadian prison officials said Roderick Muchikekwanape was last seen, and was discovered missing around 10 p.m. It gave him a 2 1/2 hour head start.

Around 6 a.m. Friday, Bellingham police said a man matching his description was spotted at a Suma gas station.

Now that there is a manhunt, experts said face coverings will make finding him more challenging.

And the news of his escape has loved ones of the woman Muchikekwanape killed and sexually assaulted outraged.

“He was in prison for committing a brutal, horrific crime,” the victim’s sister, Darlene Clarke said.

The victim, named Kimberly, and a mother of three and was walking home from a party in 1998 when she was killed.

Her body was found in a park, and investigators said she had been sexually assaulted and beaten, which devastated loved ones.

“What now? What if he does something to harm somebody else. Who’s going to be responsible for that?” Clarke said.

Canadian prison officials said the escaped killer was moved into minimum security three years ago, and they “...do not believe that he is an immediate threat to the general public.”

However, Bellingham police said he should be considered dangerous, and told KIRO 7 there’s a good chance he’ll try to continue moving south through the area, farther away from justice.

“He should never be out and from him to leave this institution is just so injustice,” the victim’s niece, Courtney Bear said.

Bellingham police said they do not have any information that points to him having connections in Whatcom County.

And Canadian prison officials have not released any additional information about his escaped, but said anyone who sees him should call police.