RCMP say they have found two bodies in northern Manitoba believed to be the two teen suspects wanted for three murders in northern B.C.
The bodies were found Wednesday morning (Aug. 7) in dense brush one kilometre from where evidence linked to Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky was found along the Nelson River, near Gillam.
It's believed the bodies belong to the suspects. Autopsies are underway to confirm their identities and cause of death.
"I'm confident it is them," Manitoba RCMP Commanding Officer and Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy told reporters in Winnipeg on Wednesday. "To identify them officially and to be sure, we have to go to autopsy."
McLeod and Schmegelsky were wanted on Canada-wide warrants for the murder of Leonard Dyck, who was found a few kilometres from the teens’ burned-out pickup truck on Highway 37 near Dease Lake July 19.
They were also suspects in the killings of American Chynna Deese and Australian Lucas Fowler. Their bodies were found along the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs on July 15.
They were last seen July 22 in Gillam, where they torched and abandoned the vehicle they were last seen driving, sparking a two-week manhunt that brought in specialized police and the Canadian military.
The search is over. At 10am this morning, Manitoba RCMP officers located the bodies of two males, believed to be the BC suspects, near the shoreline of the Nelson River (approx 8km from the burnt vehicle). #rcmpmb pic.twitter.com/tZ7EBFsNDr— RCMP Manitoba (@rcmpmb) August 7, 2019
Full statement from MacLatchy:
Over the last two weeks, our officers have worked tirelessly to find the suspects wanted in connection to the homicides in British Columbia.
While there were no confirmed sightings since July 22nd, our officers never gave up in their search efforts – following-up on every lead, considering all options, and using every available resource.
Our officers knew that we just needed to find that one piece of evidence that could move this search forward.
On Friday, August 2nd, that one critical piece of evidence was found – items directly linked to the suspects were located on the shoreline of the Nelson River.
Following this discovery, we were, at last, able to narrow down the search.
We immediately sent in specialized RCMP teams to begin searching nearby high-probability areas.
This morning, at approximately 10:00 am, RCMP officers located two male bodies, in the dense brush, within 1 kilometer from where the items were found. This is approximately 8 km from where the burnt vehicle was located.
At this time, we are confident that these are the bodies of the two suspects wanted in connection with the homicides in British Columbia. An autopsy is being scheduled in Winnipeg to confirm their identities and to determine their cause of death.
To the families of everyone affected by the series of events over the last few weeks, I know it has been so very difficult and I hope today's announcement can begin to bring some closure.
I want to thank the communities and the leadership of Gillam, Fox Lake Cree Nation, Ilford War Lake First Nation and York Landing.
Your lives have been disrupted, many of you lived with uncertainty and fear, but throughout, you were resilient, you came together as communities and you helped our officers get the job done.
To the officers involved in the search efforts; I commend you for your determination, for your innovation, for never giving up, and for working night and day to bring this search to a conclusion.
This was a search that could not have been successfully achieved without the help from our partners at the Canadian Armed Forces, from RCMP employees who came in from across the country and from multiple private partners.
Above all however, it was a search that could only be successful if we had strong public engagement and support.
Thank you to all Canadians for remaining vigilant, for calling us with information and most importantly, for being our partners.