Family, friends and colleagues pay tribute to Leonard Dyck as search for Port Alberni teens accused of his murder continues

Family, friends and colleagues pay tribute to Leonard Dyck as search for Port Alberni teens accused of his murder continues
WatchTributes pour in for Leonard Dyck, a University of British Columbia botanist who conducted research on Vancouver Island. Tess van Straaten reports.

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Teen fugitives Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of a Vancouver man — the third victim in the recent killings in Northern B.C. Leonard Dyck was identified by police on Wednesday.

McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, were charged on Wednesday with one count of second-degree murder in Dyck’s death.

Canada-wide warrants have been issued for both men.

Dyck was found dead five days ago at a highway pullout about two kilometres from a burnt-out camper truck, discovered the same day, south of the B.C.’s Stikine River Bridge on Highway 37.

The burnt vehicle was later identified as belonging to McLeod and Schmegelsky.

The teens are also wanted in connection with the homicides of tourists Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese. No charges have been laid in connection to those death.

In a statement, the Dyck family said it is “truly heartbroken by the sudden and tragic loss.”

“He was a loving husband and father. His death has created unthinkable grief, and we are struggling to understand what has happened.”

Dyck is listed on the University of British Columbia website as a sessional lecturer in botany.

In a written statement, Sean Graham, the head of the university’s botany department, wrote that the UBC community is “shocked and saddened by this news.”

“We offer our deepest condolences to Mr. Dyck’s family, friends and his colleagues at the university.”

Robert deWreede, a professor emeritus of botany at UBC, was friends with Dyck for 20 years. He taught Dyck as an undergraduate student, a master’s student, and worked with him on his PhD at UBC.

DeWreede said Dyck was retired, and is survived by his wife and two sons. He said he was passionate about his research, which focused on seaweed and how it survived when exposed to different environmental fact

“[He was] a hard worker, a person who liked to discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of biology, someone who liked to think deeply about biological problems,” he said.

He said Dyck loved to be in nature and go camping, sometimes with family and sometimes alone.

“I wasn’t surprised, in the sense that he was up where he was found, because I know he liked to take those kinds of trips to northern B.C.,” he said.

“I think it’s horrible, I don’t know what to say.”

Police are now asking for information from anyone who may have spoken to Dyck during his travels in Northern B.C

In a written statement, the B.C. RCMP said investigators across the country are sharing information to find McLeod and Schmegelsky.

They were spotted in Meadow Lake, Sask., on Sunday. A Toyota Rav4, later confirmed to have been driven by them, was found on fire in northeast Manitoba, near the town of Gillam, on Monday.

The BC RCMP Major Crime tiplines remain open in support of the Dyck, Fowler and Deese homicide investigations.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-877-543-4822 or 778-290-5291.



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