RCMP searching York Landing, Man. after possible sighting of suspected BC murderers

WatchBREAKING NEWS: Two of the suspected BC killers were potentially spotted at York Landing south-west of Gillam Sunday. Skye Ryan and Julian Kolsut bring you the latest.

Manitoba RCMP say they are investigating a possible sighting of the suspected BC killers in York Landing, Man. but no one is in custody as of Sunday evening.

“Multiple RCMP resources are being sent to York Landing, MB, to investigate a tip that the two suspects are possibly in, or near, the community. A heavy police presence can be expected in the area. We will continue to update you as information becomes available,” Manitoba RCMP wrote in a tweet Sunday afternoon.

In a separate tweet, they also asked people to not disclose officers’ locations by posting photos to social media.

On Sunday evening, RCMP said despite reports circulating around, no one is in custody and they are still investigating the reported sighting.

Police also said all efforts are being made in York Landing to find the two individuals matching the descriptions of the B.C. murder suspects from Port Alberni. Residents are reminded to stay inside, and close and lock all doors and windows.

The small community of York Landing is around 200-kilometres southwest of Gillam.

A warning to residents was posted to social media Sunday afternoon by Leroy Constant, the elected chief of the York Factory First Nation.

“RCMP officers & crew will arrive in our community of York Landing, MB very shortly to conduct a search for the 2 suspects at large,” said Constant on Facebook.

Everyone please remain indoors with your doors locked. And all vehicles should be parked. Please share the message with those who don’t have Social Media.

We received word that there was a possible sighting around our community landfill moments ago.”

URGENT! RCMP officers & crew will arrive in our community of York Landing, MB very shortly to conduct a search for the…

Posted by Leroy Constant on Sunday, July 28, 2019

Then at 6:41 PDT, Constant posted another statement.

“Police have deployed multiple resources in the area of York Landing, MB and in attempts to apprehend the suspects.

The (2) suspects are still at large and have NOT been caught. RCMP will remain on scene with Helicopter, Dogs & Emergency Response Team. They will remain until further notice. ERT are conducting ground searches with dogs and heavily armoured officers,” Constant wrote.

Constant also said heavy winds are limiting helicopter and drone searches.

“We are urging everyone to remain indoors with windows and doors locked. Patrols of the community will be done on a 24-hour basis.”

James Favel of the Bear Clan Patrol, an Indigenous-led neighbourhood watch group, said it was some of his group’s volunteers who reported the sighting to police after they saw two suspicious men while patrolling York Landing on Sunday afternoon.

“These two gentleman matched the description that they were looking for so they immediately called RCMP and alerted them to the presence, and now there is all kinds of things happening over there,” Favel, who is the group’s executive director, told the Canadian Press in an interview from Winnipeg.

“These two guys definitely stood out.”

Favel said the pair bolted as soon as they were spotted.

Officials have yet to confirm whether the duo was Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and 19-year-old Kam McLeod of Port Alberni, B.C., who are charged with second-degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia professor Leonard Dyck, 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 town of Gillam, Man. on July 22. Now RCMP are on an extensive search in the dense wilderness and small community.

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

Earlier 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.

Police said earlier Sunday that they had received more than 200 tips over the course of five days, but none that convinced investigators to believe the pair had left the bug-infested and bog-strewn landscape surrounding the tiny northern Manitoba community of Gillam.

They said it’s critical that all Canadians remain vigilant until the duo is apprehended.

Helped by tracking dogs and drones, police went door to door over the weekend, checking every residence and abandoned building in and around Gillam as townsfolk maintained their own stressful vigil for the fugitives.

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.

On Twitter, Mounties posted pictures of armed officers checking doors, shining flashlights into garages and cautiously preparing to enter a shed. One picture from the air about 200 kilometres north of Gillam showed a polar bear roaming a grassy shoreline.

Even though police didn’t think they’d left the area, they said the possibility remained that the suspects managed to somehow sneak out, or that they’d changed their appearance.

It’s all taking a toll on Gillam and several surrounding Indigenous communities, according to a member of the Bear Clan Patrol, an Indigenous-led neighbourhood watch group that was invited by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to help ease residents’ fears.

“Up here, all the towns and communities, they look like ghost towns. Like, everyone’s inside. There’s a high level of stress, anxiety and fearfulness because they’re being kept in their houses,” said Wade Taylor, a Bear Clan Patrol volunteer from Winnipeg, who noted the volunteers are not part of the search effort.

“Quite a few people have even left the area altogether, kind of waiting for this to blow over.”

Taylor said almost everyone he talked to shared their thoughts about the search. No one thought the fugitives were in their own community – they believed they were more likely to be in one of the communities nearby, Taylor said.

“Some of the people, you can tell by their voice that they’re almost at the point of breaking down crying,” Taylor said. “You could say it’s traumatic.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

With files from The Canadian Press


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