Man charged with 2nd-degree murder in deaths of Alberta hunters

A 31-year-old man has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of two men in northern Alberta over the weekend.

Jake Sansom and his uncle Maurice Cardinal were found dead Saturday morning near Siebert Lake

Jake Sansom (left) and Maurice Cardinal were hunting near Siebert Lake when they were shot to death. They took this photo on the day they were killed. (Submitted by Mike Sansom)

A 31-year-old man has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of two men in northern Alberta over the weekend, police said Thursday.

Anthony Michael Bilodeau turned himself in at the Bonnyville RCMP detachment Wednesday where he was arrested and charged in connection with the deaths of Jake Sansom and his uncle Maurice Cardinal.

Police said two vehicles came to a stop on a rural road near Glendon at about  9:30 p.m. Friday.

An argument between the occupants of the two vehicles turned into a physical confrontation, police said.

A third vehicle arrived on the scene and several shots were fired, police said, resulting in the death of Sansom and Cardinal.

Their bodies were found on a rural road near Sansom's black 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck in the early hours of Saturday. Both men had been shot.

Alberta RCMP Major Crimes Unit Staff Sgt. Jason Zazulak said the victims didn't know the other three people and it is still not clear what led to the shooting.

"Right now we're looking at all possible investigative theories," Zazulak said.

"I think it's very unusual," he added about the randomness of the attack. "We don't often see offences of this nature."

The Métis men had been out hunting for moose the day before.

Sansom had been hoping to get some food to help feed his family after being laid off from his job as a heavy-duty mechanic at Suncor due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sansom, 39, was married with three children. Cardinal, 57, had three stepchildren and five grandchildren.

Earlier, RCMP said the nature of the gunshot injuries and the number of gunshots would not be released to protect the integrity of the investigation. 

Bilodeau was remanded into custody and is set to appear in St. Paul provincial court by CCTV on April 9.

Zazulak said Bilodeau had no prior relationships with the two victims.

Court documents show a no contact order has been issued for Bilodeau and the two individuals in the other vehicle, who were known to each other prior to the shooting. 

Police are seeking anyone with video footage of the area — including range roads 84 and 90, as well as township roads 614 and 620 — between 8 p.m. Friday and 4 a.m. Saturday. That includes trail cameras, dash cameras or video surveillance.

Glendon is located about 200 kilometres north of Edmonton. 

— With files from Janice Johnston