Port Alberni mayor Sharie Minions makes a statement regarding the discovery of the bodies of two Port Alberni men who have been the subject of a Canada-wide search. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Outcome of search for B.C. fugitives ‘absolutely devastating’: Alberni mayor

Manitoba RCMP believe they’ve found the bodies of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky

News that RCMP in Manitoba have likely discovered the bodies of two B.C. fugitives that have been the subject of a Canada-wide manhunt is “absolutely devastating,” says Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, both of Port Alberni, were suspected in the deaths of three people in northern B.C. in mid-July. They were last seen on July 22 near Gillam, Man., and since then, the RCMP, the military and countless others have conducted an intense cross-country search that covered more than 11,000 square kilometres.

“We are definitely saddened by the news today, as a city and as a community. It’s definitely not the outcome that we had hoped for,” Minions said.

“No matter how you look at it, there has been so much tragedy. This has affected people across the country, and across the world. We’re thankful the search at least has come to a conclusion.”

READ: Timeline of the hunt for two Port Alberni men

Minions said she has not reached out to the young men’s families yet. “Over the last couple of weeks, I have tried to respect their privacy. But I am planning to reach out now,” she said.

The families of McLeod and Schmegelsky were not available for comment on Wednesday.

“We request that you respect privacy at this time, by keeping off our property and not ringing the door bell or banging on our door,” a sign on Schmegelsky’s grandmother’s door said. “We will not be making any statement.”

Minions said she has kept in touch with Gillam Mayor Dwayne Forman and will reach out to him again now that the search is over.

“I’m hoping that at least their community will be able to start to return to their normal lives and feel a bit of closure on their end. And that they’ll begin to feel safe again.”

McLeod and Schmegelsky left Port Alberni on July 12 to drive to the Yukon to look for work, according to their families.

Their camper truck was found on fire south of Dease Lake, B.C., on July 19 – close to where Vancouver professor Leonard Dyck was found dead the same day.

Police also announced around that time that Lucas Fowler of Australia and Chynna Deese of North Carolina had been found dead near Liard Hot Springs on July 15.

The men were initially declared missing, but on July 23, police named them as suspects in the double homicide and later charged them with second-degree murder in Dyck’s death.

Subsequent sightings of the fugitives led law enforcement to Cold Lake, Alta., Meadow Lake, Sask., and Gillam, Man.

Gillam Mayor Forman said it’s not a surprise they were found dead.

“This is non-forgiving terrain … there was a lot of speculation this was likely to be the outcome,” he said. “The closure is here for Gillam and the Fox Lake area. But the closure for the victims’ families is far from over.”

Deese’s brother, British Deese, told The Associated Press that the family needed time to process the news that the suspects’ bodies had been found.

“We are speechless,” he said in a text message, declining further comment.

– with files from The Canadian Press

 

The McLeod family put up several ‘no trespassing’ signs on their property once news broke that their son, Kam McLeod, was suspected in three northern B.C. homicides. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Just Posted

Experience automotive classics and more at the Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance

Motorcar Weekend features Show and Shine, high-end Concours division, all for a great cause

Boom & Bust: a history of the resilient women of Telegraph Cove

Author spends four years tracking down women to write about their experiences.

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria sees delays in expansion

Rising construction costs prompt AGGV to look at different design and funding options

Tofino douses Atleo Air firefighting heroes with support

Community says thanks after chopper volunteers extinguish remote brush fire

Mitchell’s Musings: Time flies faster in new millenium

Like Steve Miller before him, columnist feels time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read