Canada manhunt: Teenage murder suspects died in suicide, say police

Pair, who had not been seen since 21 July, sparked huge search spanning three separate provinces

Kam McLeod, 19 (left), and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, (right) had been charged with killing a university lecturer and a couple
Kam McLeod, 19 (left), and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, (right) had been charged with killing a university lecturer and a couple

Canadian police believe two teenage fugitives suspected of killing a US woman and her Australian boyfriend as well as another man took their own lives amid a nationwide manhunt.

The Manitoba Medical Examiner completed the autopsies on Monday and confirmed that two bodies found last week in dense bush in northern Manitoba were indeed 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky. A police statement said their deaths appeared to be suicide.

A manhunt for the pair had spread across three provinces and included the Canadian military. The suspects had not been seen since the burned-out car was found on 22 July.

McLeod and Schmegelsky were charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, a University of British Columbia lecturer whose body was found July 19 along a highway in British Columbia.

They were also suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina, whose bodies were found 15 July along the Alaska Highway about 500km (300 miles) from where Dyck was killed.

The bodies of the suspects were found near Gillam, Manitoba — more than 3,200km (2,000 miles) from northern British Columbia.

Police said in a statement McLeod and Schmegelsky were dead for a number of days before they were found, but said they were strong indications that they had been alive for a few days since last seen on July 22 and during extensive search efforts in the area.

Police also confirmed two guns were located and authorities are working to definitively confirm that the firearms are connected to the murders in British Columbia.

Critical evidence found last week when police discovered items directly linked to the suspects on the shoreline of the Nelson River helped locate the bodies, police said. Following that discovery, authorities were able to narrow down the search.

Police sent in specialised teams and began searching high-probability areas. On Wednesday morning, police located the two bodies within 1km from where the items were found and approximately 9km (5.6 miles) from where they left a burnt-out vehicle on 22 July.

The separate discoveries of three bodies and burning cars shook rural northern British Columbia and Manitoba.

Schmegelsky's father, Alan Schmegelsky, said last month that he expected the nationwide manhunt to end in the death of his son, who he said was on “a suicide mission.”

McLeod and Schmegelsky grew up together on Vancouver Island and worked together at a local Walmart before they set off together on what their parents thought was a trip to Yukon for work.

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The pair were originally considered missing persons and only became suspects later.

Police were investigating a photograph of Nazi paraphernalia allegedly sent online by one of the suspects. Schmegelsky allegedly sent photographs of a swastika armband and a Hitler Youth knife to an online friend on the video-game network Steam.

Fowler and Deese were found shot dead along the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, British Columbia.

Fowler, the son of a chief inspector with the New South Wales Police Department, was living in British Columbia and Deese was visiting him.

Associated Press

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