On July 23 RCMP officially named Kam McLeod, left, and Bryer Schmegelsky suspects in the homicide of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese, two tourists who were found shot south of Liard Hot Springs on the Alaska Highway the morning of July 15. (RCMP handout)

On July 23 RCMP officially named Kam McLeod, left, and Bryer Schmegelsky suspects in the homicide of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese, two tourists who were found shot south of Liard Hot Springs on the Alaska Highway the morning of July 15. (RCMP handout)

Motive will be ‘extremely difficult’ to determine in northern B.C. deaths, RCMP say

The bodies of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky have been found

With the discovery of the bodies, the public may never get all the answers in the case of two young men and three bodies in the northern part of the province, B.C. RCMP say.

Asst. Comm. Kevin Hackett told a news conference on Wednesday afternoon that investigators still have work to do, though details of fugitives Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky may remain unknown.

“We still need to ensure our investigative findings – whether it is statements, evidentiary timelines, physical or digital evidence – continue to confirm our investigative clearing that eliminates any other possibilities or suspects,” Hackett said at the force’s headquarters in Surrey.

“Until that is concluded, we will not close this file.”

READ MORE: Bodies of B.C. fugitives believed to have been found in Manitoba

Earlier on Wednesday, RCMP in Manitoba announced that two bodies found on the banks of the Nelson River likely belong to McLeod and Schmegelsky. The cause of death was not released. Autopsies are scheduled for Thursday in Winnipeg.

Police declined to provide details in the death of UBC lecturer Leonard Dyck out of respect for his family. His body was found at a Highway 37 pullout, south of Dease Lake, on July 19.

The second-degree murder charge laid in Dyck’s death will be removed, the BC Prosecution Service said.

McLeod and Schmegelsky, of Port Alberni, were also wanted in the double homicide of Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler, two tourists who were found dead along the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs on July 15.

“The RCMP will continue to offer support to [their families], understanding that the traumatic losses they have gone through do not end with the death of these men, whom we believe to be our suspects,” Hackett said.

Police announced the men were linked to the three deaths on July 23.

When asked how they managed to elude the authorities for so long, Hackett pointed to the vastness of western Canada and said McLeod and Schmegelsky travelled more than 2,500 kilometres before they dropped off the grid.

“I don’t think I need to educate anyone on the geography of this country – it’s a huge country. The areas that they travelled were some of the most remote areas of the country, coupled by the fact they were travelling in areas that weren’t highly populated by communities or residences,” Hackett said.

“And frankly, when individuals are on the run or trying to elude police, [they] take measures to avoid contact with police and the public so they can maintain their freedom for as long as they possibly can.”

Hackett said it would be “extremely difficult” to determine a definitive motive for Schmegelsky’s and McLeod’s actions.

Investigators received more than 1,000 tips from the public in the course of the manhunt, – in one case prompting the deployment of the military.

Officials on the ground dealt with difficult terrain, dense forests and swampy brush in northern Manitoba. Search efforts crossed three provinces, and spread through some of the country’s most rural locations.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A roundabout is proposed at the intersection of Hwy 11 and 781. (Photo Courtesy of McElhanney Engineering)
Twinning of Hwy. 11 to see roundabouts at Sylvan Lake, Benalto and Eckville intersections

Five roundabouts are planned along Hwy. 11 as part of the previously announced twinning

On Sept. 29 the First Sylvan Lake Sparks decorated the sidewalks at the Bethany Care Centre with pictures and uplifting messages. Pictured left to right are Maddie, Nora, Teagan, and Isabelle. At the time all Girl Guide meetings and activities had to be held outside. (Photo Submitted)
Sylvan Lake Girl Guides planning cookie drive-thru this weekend

The cookie drive-thru is Nov. 29 from 12-4 in the high school parking lot

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced the province surpasses one million COVID-19 tests Friday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

Most central Alberta communities under province’s enhanced measures list

Sylvan Lake RCMP, Fire Department and Victim Services will be out on Dec. 5 for the annual Charity Check-stop. File Photo
Give Sylvan Lake RCMP the bird at Charity Check-stop

Sylvan Lake RCMP will be accepting frozen turkeys for the food bank during the charity check-stop

Ecole H.J. Cody School. File Photo
Sylvan Lake high school temporarily moves to online classes

Over the weekend, H.J. Cody reported six positive cases of COVID-19

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

Ilaria Rubino is shown in this undated handout image at University of Alberta. Alberta researcher Rubino has developed technology allowing mostly salt to kill pathogens in COVID-19 droplets as they land on a mask. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-University of Alberta
Alberta researcher gets award for COVID-19 mask innovation

The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval.

Russ and Luanne Carl are sharing about their experiences of fighting COVID-19 this past summer. (Photo submitted)
Stettler couple opens up about COVID-19 battle

Luanne and Russ Carl urge others to bolster personal safety measures amidst ongoing pandemic

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

Most Read