More than two weeks after a manhunt for two BC murder suspects began, RCMP said on Wednesday that they believe that two bodies found in the Manitoba wilderness are those of 19-year-old Kam McLeod, and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky.
The pair, both from Port Alberni, were each facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of Vancouver resident Leonard Dyck, whose body was found near a burnt-out pickup truck, close to Dease Lake, BC on July 19.
They were also suspects in the deaths of 24-year-old Chynna Noelle Deese and 23-year-old Lucas Robertson Fowler.
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They have been the subject of a Canada-wide manhunt, which has been largely concentrated in and around Gilliam, Manitoba, after another torched vehicle believed to be connected to the pair was found in the area in late July.
On Tuesday, Manitoba RCMP said that on August 3, they had found “several items” they said were “directly linked” to the suspects, on the shoreline of the Nelson River, approximately nine kilometres from where the pair’s torched vehicle was originally located.
Speaking to reporters at noon today, Manitoba RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said that discovery enabled officers to “narrow down” the search.
“We immediately sent in specialized RCMP teams to begin searching nearby, high-probability areas,” she said.
Then, at 10 am today, officers located “two male bodies in the dense brush within one kilometre from where the items were found… approximately eight kilometres from the burnt vehicle.”
At this time, she said, “we believe these are the bodies of the two suspects.”
An autopsy is now being scheduled in Winnipeg to confirm their identities and to “determine the cause of death,” she added.
Although there had been no “confirmed” sightings of the pair since July 22, MacLatchy said investigators “never gave up in our search efforts; following up on every lead, considering all options, and using every available resources.”
With the discovery of the bodies today, MacLatchy said she hopes that for the families affected by the series of events over the last few weeks, “today’s announcement can begin to bring some closure.”