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William Bicknell escaped from an escort on March 10 while on a day pass from Drumheller Institution to visit a relative. (RCMP)

The family of a woman who RCMP say was held hostage by escaped killer William Bicknell in the hours before he was arrested issued a statement Thursday.

"As you can appreciate, this was a very dangerous and emotional situation for our family," the Schoorl family writes in a statement released by RCMP.

"We are currently coping with what has taken place and together as a family are doing well given the circumstances. Our family is blessed and thankful for the heroic actions of both Martin (family) and Dorian (family friend) throughout this incident. We would like to thank the public for their support and concerns in regards to our safety and well being."

The family said they cannot release more details because of the ongoing investigation.

Bicknell, 42, had been on the run since March 10 when he overpowered an unarmed guard while being escorted to Edmonton on a day pass from Drumheller Institution. Bicknell was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in the 2001 slaying of Angela Steer, who was from Maple Ridge, B.C.

RCMP allege Bicknell entered the residence of an elderly woman near Sexsmith, Alta. on the morning of March 19th and took her hostage. She contacted police and family members at around 4:00 p.m., shortly after she escaped.

Bicknell was arrested about four hours later after a chase and a gunfight with police, RCMP said. 

Police allege he took a man hostage near Vegreville, Alta. on Mar. 14. Bicknell is facing numerous charges in relation to the escape and the Vegreville hostage taking.