RCMP in Manitoba have confirmed that a burned-out grey SUV found near Gillam, Manitoba, is the same vehicle that the Port Alberni men wanted in connection with three deaths in northern B.C. were travelling in.
Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are considered armed and dangerous and wanted by police in connection with the shooting deaths of Australian Lucas Fowler, 23, and American Chynna Deese, 24 on July 15 as well as in the suspicious death of another man whose body was found near Dease Lake, B.C. on Friday.
The couple’s bodies were discovered along the side of the Alaska Highway, south of Liard Hot Springs.
Four days after the bodies of Fowler and Deese were found, McLeod and Schmegelsky’s burned-out truck was discovered near the community of Dease Lake, B.C., more than 470 kilometres away from the first crime scene. The unidentified man’s body was found nearby at a highway pullout two kilometres away.
Cpl. Julie Courchaine, media relations officer with Manitoba RCMP, made the confirmation regarding the second burned-out vehicle during a news conference on Wednesday.
“Based on this information, we have sent a number of resources to the Gillam area. There will be a heavy police presence in the community,” Courchaine said.
An information check stop has also been set up at the intersection of Manitoba Provincial Road 280 and Manitoba Provincial Road 290, the road leading into Gillam.
Manitoba RCMP are holding a press conference in Winnipeg at 3 p.m. to provide an update on the search for the two suspects wanted in connection with three B.C. homicides, last seen near Gillam, Man.
Posted by CBC Manitoba on Wednesday, July 24, 2019
The father of one of the two Port Alberni teens who are the focus of a Canada-wide manhunt says he is sitting at home worrying about his son and hopes he will be able to get to the bottom of the story.
Keith McLeod said in the statement: “Kam is a kind, considerate, caring young man.”
He also said Kam has always been concerned about other people’s feelings.
Manitoba RCMP said they are also following up on numerous tips regarding the suspects and are in contact with police across Canada.
Gillam is 55 kilometres west of Fox Lake Cree Nation, where the abandoned and torched vehicle was found in the bush off Highway 290 — which links the two communities along the Nelson River. People in the community are tense.
“It’s an understandable fear for our community members. It’s an unknown for anyone, as far as whether they [suspects] are or are not in the community,” said Dwayne Forman, mayor of the town of Gillam.
His advice for people in the area is to “stay safe, stay indoors, and if you’re travelling alone, I wouldn’t recommend it. Travel in groups and keep your eyes open for any suspicious individuals.”
Forman said the vehicle was reported on fire around 7 p.m.
Fox Lake Cree Nation Chief Walter Spence said in a statement Tuesday evening that police were conducting the patrol as a precaution.
“The RCMP are carefully conducting their work with a large presence and I would like to ask all community members to report anything of concern directly to RCMP.”
Spence said a vehicle was found burned and discarded near Bird Reserve on Fox Lake Cree Nation, around 760 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
Police are asking anyone who spots the pair to call 911 or local police immediately but to avoid confronting the men.
— RCMP Manitoba (@rcmpmb) July 24, 2019
With files from CBC and The Canadian Press