An autopsy has confirmed that the two bodies found in the dense northern Manitoba bush were those of murder suspects Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, and that the two men apparently died by suicide.
RCMP confirmed in a press release that McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, who are suspected of killing three people in Northern BC, were apparently alive in the bush during the almost two-week-long manhunt.
“While both individuals were deceased for a number of days before they were found, the exact time and date of their deaths are not known,” the RCMP said in a news release.
“However, there are strong indications that they had been alive for a few days since last seen in July and during the extensive search efforts in the Gillam area.”
RCMP said it is believed the two shot themselves. The CBC reports that the two were discovered with two firearms.
On July 15, the bodies of Australian Lucas Fowler, 23, and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, were found in a ditch off the Alaska Highway. Less than a week later, police discovered the red truck and camper McLeod and Schmegelsky were travelling in on fire.
The discovery of the teens' truck led to RCMP finding the body of Leonard Dyck, 64, a retired botanist who lectured at the University of British Columbia. Police have not released Dyck’s cause of death but did confirm it was a homicide.
After the killings, it was believed McLeod and Shmegelsky travelled westward in a Rav 4 until reaching the small far northern B.C. town of Gillam. On July 22, the Rav 4 was also found burned—with camping gear and a meal of pork chops and oranges inside, which prompted a massive manhunt in the area.
Police brought in specialized members, canine units, drones, and more manpower than we’ve seen in any Canadian manhunt in recent memory. RCMP officers needed to be trained to search the dense and boggy muskeg.
On top of the difficult landscape, the area has scarce resources, swarms of biting insects, and dangerous wildlife. Experts said that if the pair were taking refuge in this area they couldn’t have picked a worse spot.
After many tips that came up empty—including a reporting sighting of the men rummaging in a nearby community of York Landing’s dump—the RCMP scaled back their search.
On August 2, however, a man who was guiding tours down the Nelson River spotted a sleeping bag and reported it to police, which led to the police discovery of a damaged aluminum boat holding some of the duo’s belongings—the first sign of the two since the burned out Rav 4 was discovered.
Police then found the bodies of the two—only eight kilometres away from where their vehicle was found— in such a dense area of brush they had to be transported by boat for the autopsy.
Police say they are continuing to investigate possible motives behind the killings.
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