Top News

RCMP find two bodies believed to be B.C. teen fugitives

Kam McLeod, 19 and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, suspects in the murder of an Australian tourist and his American girlfriend in northern British Columbia, and charged with the second-degree murder of Leonard Dyck, are seen in a combination of still images from undated CCTV taken in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan and released by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) July 26, 2019. Manitoba RCMP/Handout/File Photo via REUTERS.
Kam McLeod, 19 and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, suspects in the murder of an Australian tourist and his American girlfriend in northern British Columbia, and charged with the second-degree murder of Leonard Dyck, are seen in a combination of still images from undated CCTV taken in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan and released by the RCMP on July 26, 2019. - Manitoba RCMP/Handout/File Photo via Reuters

RCMP in Manitoba have found two bodies that they are "confident" are the two teenage boys charged with killing a university lecturer and suspected in the murders of two tourists in British Columbia.

Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy, commanding officer of the Manitoba RCMP, made in the announcement at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"At this time, we are confident that these are the bodies of the two suspects wanted in connection with the homicides in British Columbia," she said in a statement published on the RCMP's website. "An autopsy is being scheduled in Winnipeg to confirm their identities and to determine their cause of death."

WATCH: RCMP confirms manhunt for B.C. murder suspects over

RCMP said Tuesday they found "several items directly linked" to the pair, Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, both of Port Alberni, B.C. The two had been on the run for nearly three weeks with no confirmed sightings since July 22.

The evidence was found on the banks of the Nelson River, nine kilometres along the shore near Gillam, Manitoba, the tiny northern community that was the centre of the search last week, before the RCMP scaled back the manhunt.

On Sunday, RCMP sent dive teams into the Nelson River, which is wide, fast-flowing and powers several hydro-electric dams, as part of the search for McLeod and Schmegelsky. That search proved futile.

McLeod and Schmegelsky were first reported as missing on July 19 after their Dodge pickup truck was found in flames near Dease Lake, B.C., two kilometres from where a body — later identified as university lecturer Leonard Dyck, 64 — was found.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) continue their search for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, two teenage fugitives wanted in the murders of three people, near Gillam, Manitoba, Canada July 29, 2019. RCMP/Handout via Reuters
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) continue their search for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, two teenage fugitives wanted in the murders of three people, near Gillam, Manitoba, Canada July 29, 2019. RCMP/Handout via Reuters

Days later, the RCMP said the pair was being considered as suspects in the July 15 murders of Chynna Deese, 24, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Lucas Fowler, 23, of Sydney, Australia, which took place 500 kilometres away from where Dyck was found, near Liard Hot Spring.

Schmegelsky and McLeod were charged on July 24 with the murder of Dyck.

Northern communities across Canada had since been on edge as sightings of the two teens occurred first in Saskatchewan, and then in Gillam, Manitoba, 3,000 kilometres away from the sites of the murders, where a gray Toyota RAV4 they were known to have been driving was found in flames on a highway just outside of the town.

"Our officers knew that we just needed to find that one piece of evidence that could move this search forward," MacLatchy said in her statement. "On Friday, August 2nd, that one critical piece of evidence was found — items directly linked to the suspects were located on the shoreline of the Nelson River."

At about 10 a.m. local time, she said, officers located the two bodies in dense brush, within a kilometre from where the items were found and about eight kilometres from where the burnt vehicle was found.

The search weighed heavily on the tiny, remote communities of northern Manitoba as residents suddenly found themselves host to police and military personnel.

John McDonald, deputy mayor of Gillam, said the town was relieved the search was over, and leaders of the Cree indigenous communities in York Landing and Fox Lake requested trauma counseling for their members.

“It may take some time for people to recover from the trauma caused by this lengthy manhunt,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee, leader of an indigenous advocacy group in Manitoba.

With files from Reuters

RELATED:

Recent Stories