UPDATE: Bodies found confirmed to be McLeod and Schmegelsky, pair died by apparent suicide

NowMedia Staff | August 12, 2019 in Provincial

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(UPDATE: 2 pm) - The autopsy results are in and it's now been confirmed that the two bodies found in northern Manitoba on Wednesday, Aug. 7 are Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky.

"The RCMP can also confirm that the two died in what appears to be suicides by gunfire," said a statement from the Manitoba RCMP. 

"While both individuals were deceased for a number of days before they were found, the exact time and date of their deaths are not known."

However, police added that there are "strong indications" that the two teens were alive for a few days after last being seen in July and during the extensive search efforts in the Gillam area.

Attention is now being turned to the two firearms found with the bodies.

They'll undergo forensic analysis to confirm whether they're connected to the three homicides in northern BC that started the manhunt for McLeod and Schmegelsky.

Investigators will use that information and previous findings related to the homicides to gain more clarity into what happened to Leonard Dyck, Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese.

As more information becomes available, police will share it with the families involved before making it public.

(UPDATE: Aug 7 @ 12pm): The two teenagers suspected of murdering three people in British Columbia have been found dead, Mounties in Manitoba believe. 

Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said two bodies were found in dense brush near the shoreline of the Nelson River this morning at 10 am.

The key to locating them was the discovery of evidence belonging to the suspects on Friday, MacLatchy added. 

The bodies were about 8 kilometres away from a burnt-out SUV that Mounties believe the men were driving.

They were also about 1 km away from the items found on Friday.

Autopsies will be performed on the bodies to confirm their identities and causes of death.

“It’s huge to be able to hopefully give some people an opportunity to exhale and to hopefully, eventually go back to normal and not being afraid of who’s out in the woods anymore,” MacLatchy told reporters in Winnipeg.

The manhunt for the pair stretched across the Prairies into northern Manitoba when a second burned-out vehicle they were travelling in was found July 23 near the town of Gillam.

“Our officers knew that we just needed to find that one piece of evidence that could move this search forward,” MacLatchy said.

Photo credit: RCMP

Bryer Schmegelsky, 19, and Kam McLeod, 19, were charged with second−degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia professor Leonard Dyck, whose body was found last month in northern BC.

Police also consider the men suspects in the shooting of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, who were found dead on the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, BC.

Mounties said the couple was killed between July 14 and 15.

Dyck was found on July 19.

The teens are from Port Alberni. 

Gillam Mayor Dwayne Forman said it’s not a surprise the suspects were found dead.

“This is non-forgiving terrain … there was a lot of speculation this was likely to be the outcome.”

People in the community have been on an emotional roller-coaster, he added, and are relieved the manhunt is over.

“The closure is here for Gillam and the Fox Lake area. But the closure for the victims’ families is far from over.”

Deese’s brother, British Deese, told The Associated Press that the family needed time to process the news that the suspects’ bodies had been found.

“We are speechless,” he said in a text message.

(UPDATE: Aug 6 @ 1 pm): RCMP in northern Manitoba say they have found several items linked to two murder suspects from British Columbia.

Mounties did not say what the items are but that they were found on the shore of the Nelson River on August 2, the same day they found a damaged boat in the area.

"To ensure the integrity of the investigation, no further information about the items will be provided at this time," they explained.

Mounties searched the river near Gillam over the weekend after a damaged aluminum boat was discovered there Friday.

They said a dive team conducted an underwater search "of significant areas of interest" on Sunday.

The area has been the focus for more than a week in the hunt for Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, who are suspects in the killings of three people last month in northern BC.

The news comes after RCMP said last week they would be scaling back their manhunt in the Gillam area, where a burned−out vehicle the suspects had been travelling in was found.

(UPDATE: Aug 5 @ 10 am): RCMP say they will no longer be searching a river in northern Manitoba for two murder suspects.

Mounties say the search of the river began after a damaged aluminum boat was discovered on the shore of the Nelson River on Friday.

The dive team arrived in Gillam and conducted an underwater search “of significant areas of interest” on Sunday.

Police say the search team won’t be conducting any more dives on Monday.

Police say a roadblock has been put in place in the Sundance, Man., area for other search efforts, but they declined to provide further details.

The area has been the focus for more than a week in the hunt for Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, who are wanted in connection to the deaths of three people last month in B.C.

The news comes after police said Wednesday they would be scaling back the search in the Gillam area, which is where the last confirmed sighting of the pair was more than a week ago.

(UPDATE: Aug 4 @ 11 am): RCMP searching for two British Columbia murder suspects say they spotted a damaged aluminum boat on the shore of the Nelson River in northern Manitoba.

Police say it’s the reason they have deployed a dive team to the area.

They explain in a news release that a helicopter search found the boat Friday afternoon and that five members of the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team were immediately deployed.

The dive team arrived in Gillam on Saturday and were expected to conduct an underwater search “of significant areas of interest” Sunday.

The area has been the focus for more than a week in the hunt for Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, who are wanted in connection to the deaths of three people last month in BC.

The news comes after police said Wednesday they would be scaling back the search in the Gillam area, which is where the last confirmed sighting of the pair was more than a week ago.

(UPDATE: Aug 3 @ 5:30 pm) - The RCMP of Manitoba has called in their Underwater Recovery Team (URT) to assist in the ongoing search for the two teen suspects. 

Photo credit: Manitoba RCMP Twitter

According to a tweet from the detachment, the URT will arrive in Gillam this Saturday night.

Divers are set to begin their search at a section of the Nelson River on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 4. 

(UPDATE: Aug 2 @ 9 am) - Ontario Provincial Police say they are investigating "numerous" reports involving possible sightings of two young men believed to be those wanted in multiple murders in British Columbia.

Police say the reports have come in from across the province, and investigators cannot confirm at this time whether any of the sightings are, in fact, of 18−year−old Bryer Schmegelsky and 19−year−old Kam McLeod.

They say there have been no confirmed sightings of the pair in Ontario so far.

Photo Credit: The Canadian Press
The last confirmed sighting of the suspects was in a Meadows Lake, Sask. Co-op on July 21.

Provincial police say they are working with RCMP and have assigned an investigative team to follow up on any tips related to the suspects.

A manhunt spanning several provinces began last week after Schmegelsky and McLeod were named as suspects in three killings.

Vancouver researcher Leonard Dyck and Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese were found dead last month in northern B.C.

Ontario Provincial Police warn the two men are considered dangerous and should not be approached.

With files from the Canadian Press.

(UPDATE: July 31 @ 11:15 am): The RCMP say they are scaling back the search for two British Columbia murder suspects in northern Manitoba.

Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy says officers have searched more than 11,000 square kilometres of wilderness using the best technology available and have found no sign of Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod.

Most of the specialized RCMP and RCAF resources will be withdrawn over the coming week.

MacLatchy is emphasizing that the search in the Gillam area is not over, but resources are being redeployed.

"I know that today's news is not what the families of the victims and the communities of northern Manitoba wanted to hear," she said.

"But when searching for people in vast, remote and rugged locations, it is always a possibility that they are not immediately located.

"The terrain in northern Manitoba is immense and unforgiving. The weather is often unpredictable.

"Additionally, there remains a possibility that the suspects had some sort of assistance to flee the area. This of course is still an area of consideration for the RCMP."

She added: "I want to assure everyone that the RCMP is continuing to work on this investigation and will not stop until there is a resolution."

Schmegelsky and McLeod are charged with second−degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia professor Leonard Dyck, whose body was found earlier this month in northern BC.

Police also consider the men suspects in the shooting of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, who were found dead on the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, BC.

(UPDATE: July 30 @ 12 pm): A massive police manhunt for two British Columbia homicide suspects has ended without success in a remote Indigenous community in northern Manitoba.

Mounties have pulled their heavy police presence out of York Landing.

“Policing resources in the community will return to normal,” the RCMP said in a tweet Tuesday.

“The RCMP thanks the community for their patience and understanding.”

Mounties said they have received more than 260 tips over the last seven days but stressed that none has confirmed the suspects have left Gillam.

They could still have "inadvertently" been given help to leave the area, however.

The York Landing search was triggered by a tip from the Bear Clan Patrol, an Indigenous-led neighbourhood watch group, that two men matching the descriptions of the 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky and 19-year-old Kam McLeod had been seen rummaging through the local garbage dump.

The duo is charged with second-degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia professor Leonard Dyck near Dease Lake in northern B.C.

Police also consider them suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, whose bodies were found on the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, B.C.

The RCMP, backed up by dogs, helicopters, drones, a police boat patrol and a military Hercules aircraft, said Monday that they were unable to confirm the Bear Clan sighting.

Leroy Constant, Chief of the York Factory First Nation at York Landing, said on Facebook that the RCMP started pulling out of the community late Monday.

He said the force’s emergency response team has returned to Gillam, 90 kilometres northeast of York Landing, where the last confirmed sightings of the suspects occurred a week ago.

The Bear Clan Patrol was to remain in York Landing, Constant said, and police have asked residents to report any further tips or information that could help in their search.

York Landing is only accessible by air or a two-hour ferry crossing in the summer. There’s also a rail line that runs 25 kilometres south of the community.

Constant had said he would be surprised if the pair made it to his community on foot because the northern terrain is treacherous.

(UPDATE: July 29 @ 10:30 am): The search for murder suspects Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky continues in northern Manitoba today.

RCMP officers and the Royal Canadian Air Force are now focusing their search on the tiny community of York Landing after receiving a tip that the suspects may be in the area.

Despite the tip coming from what the RCMP calls a credible source around 5 pm on Sunday, it is unconfirmed at this point.

"Officers on the ground have not made contact with the individuals, as such, the RCMP is not yet in a position to confirm that these are the wanted suspects," tweeted the Manitoba RCMP.

"The goal today remains to safely locate and apprehend the individuals and confirm their identities."

The community of York Landing is home to just 500 people and is only accessible by plane or a ferry in the summer.

Police are asking residents to "remain vigilant and stay indoors as much as possible with their doors locked."

(UPDATE: July 28 @ 9:20 pm):  Despite having received information that the two teenage murder suspects were spotted in York Landing, Manitoba, RCMP have yet to apprehend anyone. 

The RCMP have said all required resources are being utilized in the ongoing investigation and that community safety is a priority. 

"All efforts are being made in York Landing to apprehend two individuals matching the description of the suspects," reads a tweet from the Manitoba RCMP.

"We remind residents to stay inside and check all doors and windows to ensure they are closed and locked." 

(Update: 4:30 pm on Sunday): Multiple RCMP resources have been deployed to York Landing, MB to investigate a tip that Schmegelsky and McLeod may be in or around the area. 

The Manitoba RCMP have said in a tweet that a "heavy police presence" can be expected in the area.

The community is roughly 200 kilometres from Gillam, the town RCMP have spent the last few days doing door to door canvassing — searching every residence or abandoned building within the area. 

RCMP are also asking for people to refrain from posting officer locations or photos to social media while they investigate. 

(Update: 8 am on Sunday): More personnel and equipment are being poured into the gruelling hunt for two BC homicide suspects in the bug infested and bog strewn landscape surrounding the tiny northern Manitoba community of Gillam.

As the nearly week-long search for Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and 19-year-old Kam McLeod continued Sunday the RCMP said there had been no new sightings of the pair and no new information to indicate they have left the area.

The two Port Alberni, BC, residents are wanted in connection with three homicides earlier this month in northern British Columbia.

Police, aided by tracking dogs and drones, have been going door to door, checking every residence and abandoned building in and around Gillam as townsfolk maintain their own stressful vigil for the fugitives.

On Saturday, police spotted a polar bear while searching for the teens.

The aerial search effort got a boost Saturday with the arrival of a Canadian Air Force CC-130H Hercules aircraft equipped with high tech thermal detection gear.

In addition, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said that it had requested help from the Bear Clan Patrol, an Indigenous-led neighbourhood watch group, and was co-ordinating teams to fly to First Nations communities including Fox Lake Cree Nation, York Factory First Nation, and War Lake First Nation.

Schmegelsky and McLeod are charged with second-degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia professor Leonard Dyck and are also suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese.

A burned-out Toyota RAV4 the teens were travelling in was found near Gillam last week and police have said there have been no reports of stolen vehicles since then.

However, the RCMP are still asking anyone who may have unwittingly helped the two in their travels to come forward.

– With files from the Canadian Press

(Update: 3 pm on Friday): The Manitoba RCMP have released video surveillance footage of the pair of teenage murder suspects taken on July 21, 2019 from a Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Co-op. 

RCMP are also reminding the public to remain vigilant for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky as they may have changed their appearance and "inadvertently been given assistance to leave the area." 

Investigators will be conducting door-to-door canvasing throughout the next 72-hours within the town of Gillam, Manitoba and the Fox Lake Cree Nation in hopes of obtaining new information on the suspect's whereabouts. 

Photo credit: RCMPTV Youtube

(Update: 2 pm on Thursday): Manitoba RCMP has confirmed that they have had 80 tips about two teenage murder suspects from British Columbia. 

They have confirmed two “established and corroborated” sightings in the town of Gillam, which is in the province’s north. 

“There continues to be a heavy police presence in the Gillam area,” they explained.

“We have deployed our Emergency Response Team & Crisis Negotiation Team. The RCMP Major Crime Unit is involved, as well as RCMP North District resources.

“There have been no reported stolen vehicles that could be attributed to Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky. Therefore, we believe they are still in the area.” 

Mounties currently have an “informational check-stop” at the intersection of PR 280 and PR 290, the road leading into Gillam. 

It will be in place for the foreseeable future, they added.

(Update: 12 pm on Thursday): Mounties say they are investigating a photograph of Nazi paraphernalia allegedly sent by one of the suspects in three British Columbia deaths to another user on a video game network.

Sgt Janelle Shoihet says RCMP have received the photos that a Steam user says were sent by 18−year−old Bryer Schmegelsky, who is also pictured in military fatigues brandishing an airsoft rifle and wearing a gas mask.

The nationwide manhunt for Schmegelsky and his friend, 19−year−old Kam McLeod, continues today as police say they’re suspects in the deaths of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese.

Police charged the two young men yesterday with second−degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia lecturer Leonard Dyck, whose body was found near the teens’ burned−out truck in northwest BC.

Photo credit: CP
Alan Schmegelsky, Bryer's father.

The two men most recently logged onto their Steam accounts 13 days ago, around the time they told family and friends they were leaving their small Vancouver Island community of Port Alberni, BC, in search of work.

Schmegelsky’s account shows he was a frequent player of a shooting game called Russia Battlegrounds, and both young men’s Facebook pages were connected to an account called "Illusive Gameing", which had a modified Soviet flag as its icon.

Alan Schmegelsky, the father of the 18−year−old, says he purchased the military fatigues and airsoft rifle for his son so he could play "battle" with his friends in the woods, and says the teenager loved strategy video games.

There was no answer at the homes of Schmegelsky’s mother and grandmother in Port Alberni yesterday, and McLeod’s father Keith McLeod has released a statement saying his son is a "kind, considerate, caring young man."

A burned−out car the teens were travelling in was found near the community of Gillam in northern Manitoba this week and police have set up a checkstop at an intersection on the only road leading into the town.

(Update: 2:45 pm): The father of a suspect in the deaths of three people in northern British Columbia said his son is in “very serious pain” and he expects a nationwide manhunt will end in the young man’s death.

Alan Schmegelsky said his son, 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky, had a troubled upbringing. He struggled through his parents’ acrimonious split in 2005 and his main influences became video games and YouTube.

“A normal child doesn’t travel across the country killing people. A child in some very serious pain does,” Schmegelsky said in an emotional interview Wednesday in Mill Bay, BC, near his home in Victoria.

Mounties said Bryer Schmegelsky and his longtime friend, 19-year-old Kam McLeod, are suspects in the deaths of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, and another man whom police haven’t identified.

The bodies of Fowler and Deese were found along the side of a highway in northeastern BC on July 15. Four days later, the unidentified man’s body was found near the teens’ burned-out truck several hundred kilometres from the first crime scene.

Photo credit: Canadian Press

Police initially treated the teens as missing, but announced they were suspects after they were spotted in northern Saskatchewan. The manhunt stretched into northern Manitoba when a burned-out car the teens were travelling in was found near the community of Gillam.

Alan Schmegelsky said he expects his son will die in a confrontation with police.

“He’s on a suicide mission. He wants his pain to end,” he said, breaking down into tears. “Basically, he’s going to be dead today or tomorrow. I know that. Rest in peace, Bryer. I love you. I’m so sorry all this had to happen.”

Even if his son is caught, his life will be over, the father said.

“He wants his hurt to end. They’re going to go out in a blaze of glory. Trust me on this. That’s what they’re going to do.”

Schmegelsky said he and his wife separated when their son was five. She moved with the boy to the small Vancouver Island community of Port Alberni, where he met McLeod in elementary school and they quickly became inseparable best friends.

They were “everyday, good kids” who didn’t get into trouble, but his son had problems at home and, at 16, briefly moved to Victoria to live with him, Alan Schmegelsky said. The boy then returned to Port Alberni to live with his grandmother.

“He hasn’t been nurtured. He doesn’t have a driver’s licence. He never learned to ride a bike. He craved love and affection,” he said. “His influences haven’t been good. His influences have been YouTube and video games.”

He loved strategy and battle video games in particular, Schmegelsky said, and two years ago his son asked for an airsoft gun for Christmas. Schmegelsky bought it for him and the teen and his friends would “battle” each other in the woods, he said.

Schmegelsky said his son doesn’t own any real guns and doesn’t know how to drive. He worked at the Port Alberni Walmart after graduating from high school earlier this year, but was disappointed with the job and told his dad he was setting off to Alberta with McLeod to look for work.

The father recalled that his son bought a nice black suit with his second paycheque from Walmart.

“Now I realize it’s his funeral suit.”

(Update: 1:50 pm) - RCMP in Manitoba have confirmed that the burned-out vehicle found in northern Manitoba was the vehicle that Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky.

On Monday evening, RCMP recovered a vehicle in the Gillam area after receiving a report of a vehicle fire," said a tweet from Manitoba RCMP. 

"We can now confirm this vehicle is the same vehicle the suspects were travelling in."

The manhunt to find the two teens continues after they were named suspects in the deaths of three people in northern British Columbia.

This is the second vehicle associated with the pair that's been found burned out.

Police found their original vehicle and camper, which were both destroyed by fire, about 2 kilometres from a still unidentified victim.

NowMedia will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

(Update: 8:30 am on July 24): The deputy mayor of a remote town in northern Manitoba has said residents are locking their doors earlier than usual after word of a police manhunt in the area for two teenagers suspected in the deaths of three people in northern British Columbia.

John McDonald said people in Gillam are also making sure their vehicles are locked while Mounties search for 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky.

The RCMP has said the teens are suspects in the shooting of Lucas Fowler of Sydney, Australia, his girlfriend Chynna Deese of Charlotte, NC, and the death of another man who has yet to be identified.

McDonald said residents are used to seeing strangers come and go from Manitoba Hydro projects, but they’re paying closer attention to faces since the release of photos of the suspects and reports on Tuesday that both may be in the area.

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He said extra officers have been brought in for a search focused about 70 kilometres northwest of the town near Fox Lake Cree Nation, where Chief Walter Spence has said police would be patrolling all night.

Chief Spence also said a vehicle was found burned-out near the reserve yesterday.

“We cannot confirm this was directly connected to the individuals wanted by the RCMP,” he explained. 

McDonald said that if McLeod and Schmegelsky are there, they are in country known for its thick bush, swamps and insects, and where it’s easy to get lost.

“If they are wandering around in the bush, they couldn’t have picked a worse time because the sandflies came out three days ago and they’re just voracious,” he said Wednesday.

“I’m quite sure they’ll be more than happy to have someone find them.”

(Update: 4 pm): Mounties in Manitoba have said they have reason to believe the two teenage suspects in the killings of three people in northern BC could be in their province. 

They tweeted this afternoon: "Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky MAY be in Manitoba and are considered dangerous.

"We have reasons to believe they were recently in the Gillam area.

"If you spot them - take no actions – do not approach – call 911 or your local police immediately."

(Original story: 11:30 am on July 23): The RCMP has said that two teenagers they previously reported missing in northern BC are now considered suspects in the deaths of three people. 

Sgt Janelle Shoihet said 19−year−old Kam McLeod and 18−year−old Bryer Schmegelsky are dangerous and should not be approached.

The public is advised to call 911 if they are spotted.

They are suspects in the deaths of Australian Lucas Fowler, his American girlfriend Chynna Deese and an unidentified man found a few kilometres from the teenagers’ burned−out vehicle.

The two men were last seen in northern Saskatchewan driving a grey 2011 Toyota Rav 4, Mounties said.

The teens, who police said were travelling through BC to visit Whitehorse in Yukon to look for work, are both 6ft 4in tall and weigh around 169 pounds.

Shoihet said police initially thought the pair had been missing when their burned-out truck and camper was found a few kilometres from the body of the unidentified man near Dease Lake.

Now, she said, investigators have new information that leads them to believe the teenagers are suspects in all three deaths.

Mounties previously explained that Deese and Fowler were killed in a shooting.

They were driving around northern BC in a 1986 blue Chevrolet with Alberta plates.

Both families have been informed.

Photo credit: RCMP
The Toyota Rav 4.

They were found south of Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park. Mounties said they were killed between July 14 and 15.

Several hundred kilometres west on July 19, in Dease Lake, police found a dead man in a highway pullout aged between 50 and 60 about 2km south of the burned–out vehicle. 

His identity is yet to be confirmed, but he was white, between 5ft 8in and 5ft 10in tall and had a heavy build.

The RCMP explained: "The investigation is complex and evolving very quickly.

Photo credit: RCMP
The unidentified man whose body was found near Dease Lake.

"Investigators continue to follow up on tips, reviewing the physical and digital evidence collected, and share information.

"We once again ask the public to call us with any information."

Anyone with information that could help in the investigation is asked to call 1-877-543-4822  or 778-290-5291. 

– With files from the Canadian Press 

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