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Canada murders: Bodies found in hunt for two suspects

Canada murders: Bodies found in hunt for two suspects

  • 7 August 2019
Image copyright RCMP handout
Image caption Police released CCTV images of the two suspects spotted on 21 July

Canadian police have found what they believe to be the bodies of two teenagers suspected of three murders.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, have been on the run since late July when three bodies, including those of an Australian-US couple, were found in northern British Columbia.

The teenagers were later seen 3,300km (2,050 miles) to the east, in Manitoba, where police concentrated their search.

The two bodies were found near the town of Gillam on Wednesday.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police assistant commissioner Jane MacLatchy told media on Wednesday: "I'm confident it is them but to identify them officially and to be sure we have to go to autopsy."

The manhunt has kept Gillam, a community of about 1,300 people, on edge for weeks.

"It's huge to be able to hopefully give people an opportunity to exhale, and to hopefully eventually go back to normal, to not be afraid of who's out in the woods anymore," Ms MacLatchy said.

What do we know about the pair?

McLeod and Schmegelsky, both from Vancouver Island, were on their way to Yukon territory for work when they went missing last month.

Police named them as suspects in the deaths of Chynna Deese, a 24-year-old American, and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, 23, who had been found shot dead.

Image copyright RCMP

They were also charged with the murder of Leonard Dyck, 64.

The two were considered "armed and dangerous" and the public were warned not to approach them.

On 23 July the search was refocused on Manitoba, after the a burnt-out car reportedly used by the pair was found near Gillam.

How did the search unfold?

Searchers covered some 11,000 sq km (4,250 square miles) by air or foot over nine days and checked some 500 homes and abandoned buildings.

While the search focused primarily around Gillam, police also descended on the remote community of York Landing, about 90km to the south, following a credible sighting of the two.

On 31 July, after a fruitless search, they announced a "phased withdrawal" of resources.

But on Wednesday police said they had a breakthrough when items belonging to the two young men were found on a riverbank, leading to the discovery of the bodies.

What do we know about the victims?

Mr Fowler and Ms Deese were killed sometime between 14 July and early 15 July.

Their bodies were found 12 miles (20km) south of Liard Hot Springs along the Alaska Highway.

They were on a two-week-long road trip across Canada and Mr Fowler had been working in the country.

Image copyright New South Wales Police
Image caption The bodies of Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler were discovered last week

Mr Dyck, a lecturer at the University of British Columbia, was found shot dead on 19 July, near Dease Lake.

Image copyright RCPM
Image caption Mr Dyck's family said his death had "created unthinkable grief"