Police have identified the third person allegedly murdered by two teens on the run as a university lecturer.
Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, two childhood friends from Port Alberni, B.C. have been on the run from a nationwide manhunt have officially been charged with second-degree murder for the man police are now identifying as Leonard Dyck. Police initially held back information about the man who was found dead two kilometres away from the burning pick up the two men were travelling in.
CTV has reported the 64-year-old homicide victim was a sessional lecturer at the University of British Columbia, were he taught botany. Dyck's family has released a statement through the RCMP in which they asked the public and media for their privacy.
"We are truly heartbroken by the sudden and tragic loss of Len. He was a loving husband and father," the family said. "His death has created unthinkable grief and we are struggling to understand what has happened. While we understand there will be interest in knowing more about him and the impact he had during his life.”
Robert deWreede, a professor emeritus of botany at UBC and friend of Dyck, told CBC that the man leaves behind a wife and two children and while he was retired from teaching he remained passionate about his research. The friend said Dyck loved the outdoors and enjoyed camping both in groups and 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.," deWreede told the CBC.
The two men are also wanted in the deaths of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American Chynna Deese, a young couple who were planning a three-week road trip through western Canadian national parks. Fowler and Deese were found shot in a ditch next to their broken down van. Police believe they died on July 14th.
Meanwhile, the father of Bryer Schmegelsky—who reportedly praised Nazi Germany online and neo-Nazi paraphernalia—says he expects his son to go out in a “blaze of glory.” Alan Schmegelsky said his son’s influences were negative and born online and believes his son is “on a suicide mission.”
"Mounties are going to shoot first and ask questions later," he said in an interview with the Canadian Press. "He's going to be dead today or tomorrow, I know that."
The two were initially thought missing and possibly even victims when their truck was found on fire near the dead body on Friday. However, on Tuesday, police announced that they were connected to the three deaths. The two were believed to have burned their truck and were travelling east in a 2011 Toyota Rav 4. They were confirmed to have been spotted in Saskatchewan earlier this week and yesterday police confirmed that a burned out vehicle found near Gillam, Manitoba, on Monday was the Toyota they were travelling in.
Mounties have descended on Gillam, a small town located 11 hours north of Winnipeg, and its residents, as well as the residents of the nearby Fox Lake Cree Nation, have been put on high alert. Mayor of Gillam, Dwayne Forman, told the CBC that, like many a small town in northern Canada, Gillam has only one real road in and one out. He said that his residents are travelling in pairs and being extra cautious. The deputy mayor of Gillam, John McDonald, told the Canadian Press that the teens picked an area known for its tough terrain.
"If they are wandering around in the bush, they couldn't have picked a worse time because the sandflies came out three days ago and they're just voracious," he said. "I'm quite sure they'll be more than happy to have someone find them.”
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