The two young men who have been on the run from Canadian police for over a week now were allegedly stopped and let go by a police officer just before they became suspects in three murders.
Prior to the duo being wanted for murder, they were listed as missing and even possibly considered victims. It was during this time, on July 22, when they blew through a traffic stop in Split Lake, Manitoba. Here, according to the Daily Mail, they were pulled over by a man by the name Albert Saunders—the Daily Mail originally reported Saunders was an RCMP officer but the RCMP clarified that he was a Split Lake First Nations Safety Officer in a tweet. Saunders said he and his partner turned on their lights and pulled the two boys over. He said he spoke to the two boys and searched the vehicle but only found survival gear and maps.
“They looked scared.' I spoke to the one with the mustache, Kam McLeod,” Saunders told the UK outlet. “He just kept saying, 'Sorry'. They didn't say where they were going.'”
Saunders said he let the two carry on and they filled up in the town and made their way towards Gillam, the location their vehicle would eventually be found burned.
The two are being sought by police for three deaths that occurred in Northern BC over a week ago. They are connected to the shooting deaths of 23-year-old Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend 24-year-old Chynna Deese who were found in a ditch off the Alaska Highway on July 15 and the death of 67-year-old botanist Leonard Dyck who was found two kilometres away from the teens burning truck on July 19. The teens were initially thought missing but police confirmed they were suspects in the deaths on July 23.
The incident in Split Creek isn’t the only time that the two suspects have been aided by those not knowledgeable of who they are. The CBC reports that on July 21, one day before the incident in Split Lake, Tommy Ste-Croix was driving through the Alberta town of Cold Lake when he spotted a vehicle stuck in a muddy field. Ste-Croix went drove up to help them get out. He said the two were polite but “nervous.” Nevertheless, Ste-Croix helped them get out and two days later, when the story regarding the boys he met in that muddy Alberta field blew up, he realized who they were.
“You know if they really, really wanted me, I could be dead," he told the CBC."They had the opportunity to grab the truck. I was alone with them. I was behind the SUV tying it up and they pretty much had a brand new truck to take off with. My wallet was in there. But they didn't."
One day later the Rav 4 would be found burned near Gillam and RCMP would converge upon northern Alberta in search of the two. On Sunday, the police came in droves to York Landing, Manitoba after a member of the Bear Clan, an indigenous community watch group, spotted two people who matched the description of the suspects rummaging in the dump. The community was put in lockdown as police searched the area. But as the manhunt for Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod enters its eighth day, the latest lead has turned up empty.
“The emergency response team have conducted an extensive ground search in York Landing and surrounding areas and have not located the suspects with assistance from canine units, helicopters, Hercules aircraft, drones, and RCMP boat patrol,” wrote Leroy Constant, the chief of the York Factory Cree Nation.
“The Emergency Response Team will head back to Gillam and develop a plan moving forward. Major Crime Unit has also left the community.”
Police are now refocusing their efforts back on the town of Gillam where the burned husk of the Rav 4 the duo were traveling in was found. On July 30, Manitoba RCMP tweeted that they had completed over 500 door to door home canvasses in Gillam and the nearby Fox Creek Cree Nation.
“RCMP resources remain in the Gillam area and will continue to conduct searches in high probability areas for any signs of the suspects. The search of remote areas is being conducted both on foot and in the air,” reads their tweet.
Constant added that ten officers, as well as a contingent of the Bear Clan, will remain in the area.
“Investigators have now received over 260 tips in the past 7 days. None have established that the suspects are outside of the Gillam area. However, Manitoba RCMP continues to remind the public that it is possible the suspects inadvertently received assistance & are no longer in the area.”
It’s believed the two suspects are somewhere within the dense boggy bush of northern Manitoba. If that’s true, the two couldn’t have picked a worse area as the location is notorious for its difficult terrain, biting insects, limited resources, and dangerous wildlife..
It’s been over a week since a sighting of the teens has been confirmed. Police believe they are armed and dangerous.
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