Edmonton police believe a murder suspect might be hiding out on Vancouver Island’s West Coast.
Austin Mackenzie Southworth, 26, is wanted by police in connection with the murder of 37-year-old Brad MacDonald. MacDonald’s body was discovered on April 10 and the Edmonton Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma, according to a Sept. 7 release issued by the Edmonton Police Service.
The release states Southworth is wanted on charges of second degree murder, possession of a dangerous weapon and robbery.
Edmonton Police Service spokesperson Cheryl Sheppard would not speak to the specifics of how the information was received, but told the Westerly News that police have reason to believe Southworth is in the Tofino and Ucluelet area.
“All I can say is that we have information that’s led us to that specific area,” she said. “We are looking for this individual so there’s not a lot I can share about how we determined that specific area to be a possible location of where the suspect is.”
She said the Tofino and Ucluelet RCMP detachments have been notified of Southworth’s potential presence and she encourages anyone who believes they have seen Southworth to contact police immediately.
Ucluelet RCMP can be reached at 250-726-7773 and Tofino RCMP can be reached at 250-725-3242. Information can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
“Southworth is described as a Caucasian male with green eyes, short brown hair and light facial hair. He is approximately 5’7” tall, slim build and weighs 140 lbs,” according to the release.
“Southworth has several tattoos including a tattoo on his left hand which reads ‘brothair,’ a full sleeved tattoo with tribal markings covering his right arm, as well as star-shaped tattoos across the front of his neck.”
The release adds that Southworth could be driving a blue 2004 Mazda MPV minivan with a broken driver’s side window and an Alberta license plate BPB 4729.
Sheppard said police do not have reason to believe Southworth is armed and dangerous but she encourages locals to be cautious and call police rather than attempt to apprehend him themselves.
“We don’t encourage anyone to approach him,” she said.