By Larry Persily
A three-week search for two murder suspects that started in British Columbia, then moved through Alberta and Saskatchewan ended Aug. 7 in northern Manitoba when police found the teenagers dead in an area of dense brush near Gillam, a small community about 100 miles southwest of Hudson Bay.
An autopsy confirmed the identities of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, both of Port Alberni, British Columbia, the Manitoba Medical Examiner’s office reported Aug. 12. Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the young men died from “suicides by gunfire.”
The RCMP said the two had been dead “for a number of days before they were found.”
The two young men were charged with killing University of British Columbia botanist Leonard Dyck, 64, who was found shot dead in Dease Lake, B.C., on July 19. They also were suspects in the shooting deaths of Lucas Fowler, 23, an Australian, and his girlfriend, Chynna Deese, 24, of Charlotte, N.C. Their bodies were found beside the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, B.C., on July 15.
Police received a breakthrough in the investigation Aug. 2 when officers discovered personal items belonging to the suspects on the shore of the Nelson River, according to Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy, the commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba. The police also found a damaged aluminum boat, according to news media reports Aug. 7. The river runs through Gillam on its way to Hudson Bay.
“The items found on the shoreline of the Nelson River and directly linked to the suspects enabled officers to narrow down the search,” the RCMP Manitoba station reported. The bodies were found about a mile away.
Police have not disclosed a possible motive for the killings.
Bryer Schmegelsky’s father, Al Schmegelsky, told Canadian news media that his son had been on “a suicide mission” and had a passion for military battle video games. “They’re going to go out in a blaze of glory,” he told The Canadian Press in late July.
Fowler and Deese had been on a road trip in northern British Columbia when their van broke down on July 14. Their bodies were discovered near the van, according to news media reports.
A few days later, the police found Dyck’s body on a highway about 300 miles away. The youths’ burnt-out camping truck was found in the vicinity.