On July 23 RCMP officially named Kam McLeod, left, and Bryer Schmegelsky suspects in the homicide of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese, two tourists who were found shot south of Liard Hot Springs on the Alaska Highway the morning of July 15. (RCMP handout)

On July 23 RCMP officially named Kam McLeod, left, and Bryer Schmegelsky suspects in the homicide of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese, two tourists who were found shot south of Liard Hot Springs on the Alaska Highway the morning of July 15. (RCMP handout)

Motive will be ‘extremely difficult’ to determine in northern B.C. deaths, RCMP say

The bodies of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky have been found

With the discovery of the bodies, the public may never get all the answers in the case of two young men and three bodies in the northern part of the province, B.C. RCMP say.

Asst. Comm. Kevin Hackett told a news conference on Wednesday afternoon that investigators still have work to do, though details of fugitives Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky may remain unknown.

“We still need to ensure our investigative findings – whether it is statements, evidentiary timelines, physical or digital evidence – continue to confirm our investigative clearing that eliminates any other possibilities or suspects,” Hackett said at the force’s headquarters in Surrey.

“Until that is concluded, we will not close this file.”

READ MORE: Bodies of B.C. fugitives believed to have been found in Manitoba

Earlier on Wednesday, RCMP in Manitoba announced that two bodies found on the banks of the Nelson River likely belong to McLeod and Schmegelsky. The cause of death was not released. Autopsies are scheduled for Thursday in Winnipeg.

The bodies were discovered not far from where the suspects had dumped a stolen SUV on July 22, near the remote community of Gillam. An aluminum boat and other “significant evidence” was found at the Nelson River on Aug. 4, sparking a dive team to scour the area.

Police declined to speak on the details surrounding the death of UBC lecturer Leonard Dyck out of respect for his family. His body was found at a Highway 37 pullout, south of Dease Lake, on July 19.

The second-degree murder charge laid against McLeod and Schmegelsky in Dyck’s death will be removed, the BC Prosecution Service said.

The two young men from Port Alberni were also wanted in the double homicide of Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler, two tourists who were found dead along the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs on July 15.

“The RCMP will continue to offer support to [their families], understanding that the traumatic losses they have gone through do not end with the death of these men, whom we believe to be our suspects,” Hackett said.

Police announced the men were linked to the three deaths on July 23.

When asked how they managed to elude the authorities for so long, Hackett pointed to the vastness of western Canada and said McLeod and Schmegelsky travelled more than 2,500 kilometres before they dropped off the grid.

“I don’t think I need to educate anyone on the geography of this country – it’s a huge country. The areas that they travelled were some of the most remote areas of the country, coupled by the fact they were travelling in areas that weren’t highly populated by communities or residences,” Hackett said.

“And frankly, when individuals are on the run or trying to elude police, [they] take measures to avoid contact with police and the public so they can maintain their freedom for as long as they possibly can.”

Hackett said it would be “extremely difficult” to determine a definitive motive for Schmegelsky’s and McLeod’s actions.

Investigators received more than 1,000 tips from the public in the course of the manhunt, – in one case prompting the deployment of the military.

Officials on the ground dealt with difficult terrain, dense forests and swampy brush in northern Manitoba. Search efforts crossed three provinces, and spread through some of the country’s most rural locations.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Manitoba Manhunt

Just Posted

Some Saanich firefighters have expressed concerns about first responders in the Island Health Region not being prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as an outbreak at a fire station would make service delivery a challenge. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich firefighters not prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine despite working on frontlines

Saanich members express frustration, department calls on Island Health to take action

A total of 10 flight exposures have affected the Victoria International Airport in April so far, making it the highest monthly total since the start of the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hits record-breaking number of monthly COVID-19 flight exposures

As of April 21, 10 flight exposures reported for the month

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of UVic varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

Victoria’s economy is expected to bounce back fairly easily, according to a new report from BMO Capital Markets released April 15. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria in good position to bounce back post-pandemic, says BMO

City’s smaller size, lower COVID-19 caseload and diverse industry base bode well

It’s time to upgrade Metchosin’s connectivity, some residents are saying. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Petition signals desire for Metchosin cellphone coverage

It’s crazy for a Victoria suburb to be a dead-cell zone, petition writer said

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

Chart from the April 20 B.C. budget shows sharp dip in real estate sales early in the COVID-19 pandemic and the even steeper climb since late 2020. (B.C. government)
Hot B.C. housing market drives property transfer tax gains

B.C. budget boosts tobacco, sweet drinks, carbon taxes

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

B.C.’s 2021 budget is trending in the right direction to support farmers, says the BC Fruit Growers’ Association. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
BC Fruit Growers’ Association gives thumbs up to provincial budget

BCFGA general manager said budgetary investments put farming industry on a good trajectory for recovery

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria rose to 5.7 per cent in March 2021, an increase of 0.8 per cent compared to February 2021. But the local unemployment rate remains the among the lowest in Canada. (Black Press Media File)
Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate rises to 5.7 per cent

The increase marks a reversal from recent months, but local economy among the strongest in Canada

Nanaimo city council voted in support of penning a letter to the province asking for a public inquiry into the justice system in B.C. and why the courts release prolific chronic offenders back into communities. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo supports call for tougher penalties, criminal justice reforms

Council concerned that repeat offenders keep being released, votes to send letter to B.C. government

Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association logo
Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association talks ‘return to play’

Sport hopes for a near-normal fall after struggle of the 2020-2021 minor hockey season

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCGEU

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says union president Laird Cronk

Most Read