Thursday 22 August 2019

Two teen fugitives suspected of three murders 'took their own lives' - Canadian police

Wanted: Kam McLeod (19) and Bryer Schmegelsky (18) were suspects in three killings. Photo: RCMP Handout via Reuters
Wanted: Kam McLeod (19) and Bryer Schmegelsky (18) were suspects in three killings. Photo: RCMP Handout via Reuters

Rob Gillies

Canadian police have said they believe two teenage fugitives suspected of killing a woman and her boyfriend as well as another man took their own lives.

The Manitoba Medical Examiner completed the post-mortems and confirmed that two bodies found last week in dense bush in northern Manitoba were 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky. A police statement said their deaths appeared to be suicide.

A manhunt for the pair had spread across three provinces and included the Canadian military. The suspects had not been seen since the burned-out car was found on July 22.

McLeod and Schmegelsky were charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, a University of British Columbia lecturer whose body was found on July 19 along a highway in British Columbia.

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP File)
Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP File)

They were also suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina, whose bodies were found on July 15 along the Alaska Highway about 300 miles from where Mr Dyck was killed.

The bodies of the suspects were found near Gillam, Manitoba - more than 2,000 miles from northern British Columbia.

Police said McLeod and Schmegelsky were dead for a number of days before they were found, but said there were strong indications that they had been alive for a few days since last seen on July 22 and during extensive search efforts in the area.

Police also confirmed two guns were located and authorities are working to definitively confirm that the firearms are connected to the murders in British Columbia.

Security camera images of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Security camera images of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

Critical evidence found last week when police discovered items directly linked to the suspects on the shoreline of the Nelson River helped locate the bodies, police said. Following that discovery, authorities were able to narrow down the search.

Police sent in specialised teams and began searching high-probability areas. On Wednesday morning, police located the two bodies within a mile from where the items were found and around 6 miles from where they left a burnt-out vehicle on July 22.

The separate discoveries of three bodies and burning cars shook rural northern British Columbia and Manitoba.

Schmegelsky's father, Alan Schmegelsky, said last month that he expected the nationwide manhunt to end in the death of his son, who he said was on "a suicide mission".

McLeod and Schmegelsky grew up together on Vancouver Island and worked together at a local Walmart before they set off together on what their parents thought was a trip to Yukon for work.

McLeod and Schmegelsky themselves were originally considered missing persons and only became suspects later.

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