A community in northern Manitoba continues to be on lockdown after two B.C. murder suspects were reportedly spotted at its landfill Sunday afternoon.
Members of a volunteer patrol group told police they spotted Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky near York Landing.
James Favel, the executive director of Bear Clan Patrol, said seven members headed up to York Landing, a town of around 400 people, and spotted two strange men matching the descriptions of McLeod and Schmegelsky near the dump around 4:15 p.m. local time.
“They came across two men who meet the description of the two wanted suspects,” Favel told Black Press Media by phone.
“They appeared to be scavenging food out of the dump.”
Favel said that when the two men realized they were seen “bolted across the road past through sewage lagoon and into a tree line and disappeared.”
In an update posted just before 9 p.m. local time, Manitoba RCMP said no one was in custody and Mounties remain on scene.
Despite reports – there is no one in custody at this time. RCMP officers remain in the community of York Landing & continue to investigate the reported sighting of the two suspects. All required resources are being used in this ongoing investigation. Updates to follow.
— RCMP Manitoba (@rcmpmb) July 29, 2019
Favel said the scavenging duo stood out because “the community’s been on lockdown for the past 24 to 48 hours so it’s like ghost town. Everybody is hiding and stressed out right now.”
Bear Clan Patrol is an unarmed, non-violent volunteer group created in the 1990s to help protect Indigenous communities. York Landing does not have police based there normally.
McLeod and Schmegelsky are wanted in connection to three deaths in northern B.C.
The two Port Alberni men have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of UBC lecturer Leonard Dyck on July 19 and remain suspects in the double homicide of Lucas Fowler, 23, and Chynna Deese on July 15.
Chief Leroy Constant of the York Factory First Nation said Mounties remain on scene with helicopters, dogs and the Emergency Response Team.
“ERT are conducting ground searches with dogs and heavily armoured officers,” Constant wrote on Facebook.
“Currently, heavy winds are limiting helicopter and drones.”
Constant asked his community to remain inside.
“We are urging everyone to remain indoors with windows and doors locked. Patrols of the community will be done on a 24 hour basis.”
In a tweet posted Sunday afternoon, RCMP said “multiple RCMP resources are being sent to York Landing, MB, to investigate a tip that the two suspects are possibly in, or near, the community.”
Multiple RCMP resources are being sent to York Landing, MB, to investigate a tip that the two suspects are possibly in, or near, the community. A heavy police presence can be expected in the area. We will continue to update you as information becomes available.
— RCMP Manitoba (@rcmpmb) July 28, 2019
York Landing is located to the southwest of Gillam, where police previously believed McLeod and Schmegelsky to be. A trip by car is about 3.5 hours or 200 kilometres long and requires a ferry but locals say about 62 kilometres of train tracks, as well as a trail, connect the two communities.
Mounties are asking residents to not reveal exact police locations.
More to come.