More than 200 tips in BC murder manhunt

More than 200 tips in BC murder manhunt
An RCMP officer and a K9 search for the two Port Alberni suspects near Gillam, MB (Photo: Manitoba RCMP)

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE HERE: Manitoba RCMP say resources are heading to York Landing after a possible sighting of the suspected BC killers.

More than 200 tips have flooded into the RCMP, as the hunt for the two suspected B.C. killers in Manitoba continues.

Manitoba RCMP say that the tips have come in over the last five days and that none have established that the suspects are outside the Gillam area.

There have been no new sightings, but officers say they are continuing to search cottages, cabins, waterways and along the rail line for any signs of the suspects.

A search of remote areas is being conducted both on foot and in the air with the help of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

READ MORE: Military plane arrives, search continues for pair of suspected Port Alberni killers

“The terrain is immense [and] varied [with] lakes, ponds, muskeg, etc,” said Manitoba RCMP online.

They are also strongly urging that any tips on their whereabouts should immediately be reported to local police.

“Multiple tips of sightings have been posted to social media [and] not directly reported to police. If the tips are valid, it could create a substantial delay in the response by police,” Manitoba RCMP added.

Police are also still not ruling out that someone could have inadvertently provided assistance to the two, and that they may no longer be in the area.

Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, 64, whose body was found July 19 near the pair’s burned-out truck in northwestern B.C.

They are also suspects in the death of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, found four days earlier along a highway more than 450 kilometres from where Dyck was discovered.

The two fled B.C. and were spotted heading east, before their stolen Rav-4 was found burned out near the remote town on July 22. Now RCMP are on an extensive search in the dense wilderness and small community.

On Friday, RCMP said McLeod and Schmegelsky may have changed their appearance and it’s possible that someone may not have been aware of who they were and provided assistance — helping them potentially escape the town.

They say that person could be hesitant to come forward.

“I want to reiterate the importance of contacting police immediately,” RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Julie Courchaine said during a news conference on Friday.

A video was also released showing the two in the Meadow Lake Co-op on July 21.

That same day, Cold Lake RCMP say at 9:30 a.m. a resident came across a vehicle stuck on a trail behind their residence. Two younger males were seen outside of the Toyota Rav-4.

The resident help them get unstuck, and the suspects continued on their way. The resident later reported it to police after seeing the pair identified on social media.

There have been no confirmed sightings since then.

Police are conducting door-to-door canvases in Gillam and Fox Lake Cree Nation to get tips and information. RCMP requested aircraft support from the Canadian Armed Forces on Friday.

Officers from the western provinces and Ontario are also searching abandoned buildings.

“Residents in these areas can be assured that we are activating all necessary resources to protect public and officer safety,” Courchaine said.

Courchaine also said the man bearing a resemblance to McLeod shown in a photo posing with a copy of Thursday’s Winnipeg Sun, is not the alleged killer. Courchaine said they spoke to the man and discovered the photo was unintentionally shared.

“The spreading of false information in communities across Manitoba has created fear and panic,” Courchaine said.

Photo: CBC

With files from CBC News and The Canadian Press

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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