Canadian authorities still searching for teen killing spree suspects

The face of two men.
The pair. Photo credit: CNN/Screenshot

Canadian authorities have suffered a frustrating blow in their search for two teenage fugitives wanted for the highway killing spree across remote northern Canada that left Australian tourist Lucas Fowler, his US girlfriend and a botanist dead.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced on Monday a possible sighting of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, at a garbage dump could not be substantiated after a "thorough and exhaustive search".

The RCMP deployed personnel and Royal Canadian Air Force planes to the quiet, isolated town of York Landing on Sunday after two members of the Bear Clan, an indigenous community policing group, noticed two men matching the teenagers' tall, skinny body types foraging for food at the landfill.

It appeared to be a major breakthrough in the two-week manhunt that has stretched 3,000km from British Columbia in the west to Manitoba in northern, central Canada.

"After a thorough and exhaustive search, #rcmpmb has not been able to substantiate the tip in York Landing," the RCMP said in a tweet.

"RCMP resources will continue to be in the York Landing and Gillam areas.

"We thank the community for their patience and understanding and ask them to continue to be vigilant."

York Landing is an inland, island community in northern Manitoba only accessible in summer by air or a two-hour ferry crossing.

There is also a rail line about 25km south.

The York Landing dump is about 90km southwest of the town of Gillam, where the duo allegedly torched their Toyota RAV4 getaway car a week ago and were presumed to have fled into bushland on foot.

McLeod and Schmegelsky would physically stick out in quiet communities. They are both 193cm tall and weigh just 77kg.

The RCMP is being aided by military technology.

The Royal Canadian Air Force has sent a CC-130H Hercules and a CP-140 Aurora patrol plane equipped with infrared cameras and imaging radar to scan the thick forest.

McLeod and Schmegelsky are considered armed, dangerous and are likely desperate after two weeks on the run.

Fowler, 23, from Sydney, and his North Carolina girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, were on a Canadian road trip in BC two weeks ago when their old van broke down on a highway.

Their bodies were found in a ditch beside the freeway.

Four days later botanist Leonard Dyck was found dead on another BC highway.

McLeod and Schmegelsky then drove 3000km east to the Gillam area before torching a Toyota RAV4.

The teenagers and longtime best friends lived on Vancouver Island, had worked at a Walmart, but told family members they were driving north to Yukon to find work.

McLeod and Schmegelsky were originally declared missing when the three bodies were first found, but the RCMP last week charged the duo with Dyck's second-degree murder and launched the nationwide manhunt.

Reuters