Police say they are ramping down their search for two teenagers accused of multiple murders as the nationwide manhunt for the pair enters its ninth day.
At a press conference earlier today, police said they will slowly be withdrawing their officers from the small Manitoba town of Gillam where they are currently deployed in the search for Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod. Manitoba RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy told reporters that the RCMP has “ done everything we can to locate the suspects.”
"I know that today's news is not what the families of the victims and the communities of northern Manitoba wanted to hear," MacLatchy said. "But in searching for people in vast, remote and rugged locations, it's always a possibility that they're not going to be immediately located."
RCMP say they have scoured 11,000 square kilometres and have gone door to door on more than 500 homes. They’ve deployed canine units, airplanes with heat-sensitive cameras, drones, and a large number of officers to the area. They will be leaving “tactical resources and specialized assets” in the area and assured the town that if there is another sighting they will send additional resources at the drop of a hat.
"It is not over, not by any means," she said.
The two have been on the run since July 22 when police announced they were sought in connection with three deaths in northern BC. Schmegelsky and McLeod are wanted in connection to the shooting deaths of Australian Lucas Fowler, 23, and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24. The couple were found dead in a ditch of the Alaska Highway on July 15 next to the broken down van they planned to road trip across western Canada in. The pair have been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death Leonard Dyck. On July 19, police found the truck the two were travelling in on fire, two kilometres away, they found the body of Dyck. Police have not disclosed his cause of death.
The two were at first considered missing and possibly victims, travelled east being spotted in Cold Lake by someone who pulled them out of a muddy field, and in Split Creek where they blew through a stop sign and were pulled over and eventually released. They eventually ended up in the small northern Manitoba town of Gillam where police again found the vehicle they were travelling in burned. Police found the charred husk of the Rav 4 on the 22 and announced on the 23 the two were on the run and considered suspects.
It’s believed the two are taking refuge in the thick, boggy bush of northern Manitoba. If that’s true the pair picked a difficult place to hide, as it’s incredibly difficult terrain to move on, has limited resources, and has a plethora of biting insects and dangerous wildlife.
While little is known about Kam McLeod, the online history of Schmegelsky has painted a depressing picture of a troubled youth with an interest in the far-right. Schmegelsky was connected to a YouTube be account with a Nazi insignia as the avatar, reportedly owned a Nazi armband and Hitler Youth knife, had a gaming account connected to the Azov Battalion (a far-right nationalist Ukrainian militia,) and had a history of praising Hitler. Others who knew him said it was usual for him to make comments about killing people.
It was believed the pair was spotted on Sunday at a dump rummaging for food in the nearby community of York Landing. Police converged on the town and scoured the area all day Monday but the tip turned up dry.
It’s been over a week since there has been any confirmed sighting of the pair.
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