An armed, convicted murderer is being sought after a guard was overpowered and taken hostage near Edmonton Thursday night.

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William Bicknell escaped from guards and is armed with numerous weapons. (RCMP)

Around 8 p.m., RCMP responded to a report of an escaped prisoner who had been in the Edmonton area earlier in the day on a temporary absence pass from the Drumheller Correctional Institution.

The prisoner, William Wade Bicknell, is currently serving a prison term for second-degree murder. Bicknell was convicted in 2003 of killing Angela Steer, then 37, in her home in Maple Ridge, B.C. in April of 2001.

On the return trip from Edmonton to Drumheller, Bicknell gained control of the vehicle they were travelling in, said RCMP. The pair returned to Edmonton with the escort as a hostage, police said, where Bicknell allegedly obtained several firearms and ammunition.

The rundown

Bicknell, 42, is 6-6 and weighs 402 pounds.

He has brown hair and hazel eyes with a fair complexion. He has a number of 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.

The two then travelled to a rural residence in the Chipman area, northeast of Edmonton, where Bicknell forced his way into the residence and forcefully took vehicle keys from the homeowner, said police.

It is believed that Bicknell knew the homeowner, said RCMP.

Before leaving the residence, Bicknell disabled the telephone and the Correctional Services vehicle and ordered both individuals to not call police.

Bicknell fled the residence in a 2009 Grey Chevrolet Impala with Alberta licence plate CXE - 602.

Both the homeowner and the corrections employee were uninjured.

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