CALGARY—The RCMP says it has found two bodies believed to be Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, two young men from British Columbia allegedly involved in the deaths of three people who have led police on a cross-country manhunt for more than two weeks.
Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy of the Manitoba RCMP said the bodies were found on Wednesday morning.
“At this time, we believe these are the bodies of the two suspects wanted in connection with the homicides in British Columbia,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
Police have been searching for McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, who are wanted on second-degree murder charges, in the area around Gillam, Man., since July 23. At its peak, the search included dogs, drones, and military planes, but it was scaled down last week as the efforts didn’t turn up additional signs of the pair.
Then last Friday — the first traces of them in almost two weeks were found on the shoreline of the Nelson River near Gillam. Manitoba RCMP Friday confirmed Tuesday “several items” found there were linked to the two men, about nine kilometres away from the burnt-out vehicle they were driving that was located July 22.
The two fugitives are facing second-degree murder charges in connection with the death of Leonard Dyck, a UBC sessional lecturer in botany, and are suspected in the deaths of tourists Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler.
Manitoba RCMP declined to say what items were found and how they were linked to the suspects. Wednesday morning, a B.C. RCMP spokesperson said they didn’t know what the found items were.
Gillam Mayor Dwayne Forman praised the RCMP’s handling of the search in his community, and said he was grateful the police shared information about the discovery of the items only when they were able to confirm they were linked to Schmegelsky and McLeod — in this case, four days later.
“They’re not going to give us false information and I appreciate that,” he said.
Five members of the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team were immediately sent out after the discovery of the badly dented and mangled boat Friday afternoon northeast of Gillam. They arrived in the small Manitoba community on Saturday and began “a thorough underwater search of significant areas of interest,” according to RCMP Manitoba.
The underwater recovery team has since concluded their search.
With files from Alex McKeen
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Brennan Doherty is a work and wealth reporter with Star Calgary. Follow him on Twitter: @bren_doherty