Police closing in on Canadian teens accused of murdering three people

Accused murderers Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod
Accused murderers Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod Photo credit: CNN/screenshot

SWAT teams, tactical assault vehicles, drones, helicopters and sniffer dogs have descended on the remote northern Canadian outpost of Gillam, Manitoba, in a frantic search for two teenagers accused of embarking on a murderous highway
rampage.

 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Thursday they have received 80 tips from the public the past two days and believe accused killers Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, remain near Gillam.

After abandoning and torching their Toyota RAV4 getaway vehicle on Monday night in bushland outside of Gillam, the teenagers appear to have fled on foot into the wilderness which features unforgiving swamps, bears, wolves and a summer infestation of bugs.

"There have been two established and corroborated sightings of the suspects in the Gillam area," RCMP Corporal Julie Courchaine told reporters on Thursday.

Two black backpacks were also dumped in the area.

There have been no reports of vehicles being stolen, leading the RCMP to believe they have not fled by car.

Schmegelsky's father, Alan, warned on Wednesday he believed the teenagers were on a suicide mission and planned to die in a "blaze of glory" with police.

"At this point in the investigation, we believe they are still in the area," Corporal Courchaine said.

"Manitoba RCMP has deployed a significant amount of resources to the Gillam area, including our emergency response team or crisis negotiation team, police, dog services and air services assets."

The teenagers are accused of beginning a killing spree more than 3,000km away on July 14 in the western Canadian province of British Columbia when they shot dead Australian tourist Lucas Fowler, 23, and his US girlfriend Chynna Deese, 23.

Lucas Fowler and his girlfriend Chynna Deese
Lucas Fowler and his girlfriend Chynna Deese Photo credit: AAP

The old Chevrolet van Mr Fowler and Ms Deese were driving had broken down on a
remote freeway near Liard Hot Springs in northern British Columbia.
Their bodies were found in a ditch.

Five days later and 467km away near Dease Lake, BC, authorities believe McLeod and Schmegelsky encountered and murdered University of British Columbia botanist Leonard Dyck.

The RCMP have charged the teens with second-degree murder for Mr Dyck's death.

They allegedly left Mr Dyck's body on the freeway, set fire to their own Dodge pick-up truck and escaped in the RAV4.

They drove it across northern Canada to Gillam where it is so desolate the road comes to a dead end.
The RCMP have set up roadblocks, while the wilderness is considered so severe and challenging locals doubt the two teenagers would be able to survive.
In winter, temperatures drop to below minus 20 degrees Celcius, but in summer the ground turns into a mush and there's an explosion of insects that make it impossible to tolerate without the correct equipment.

 "This is very challenging terrain," Corporal Courchaine said "This is a large area.
 "There's lots of dense bush, forests, swampy areas."

The RCMP refused to comment on reports the teenagers were obsessed by Nazi history.

Photos of Nazi memorabilia, including a swastika and knife, were reportedly posted to online accounts linked to the teenagers.

McLeod and Schmegelsky, from Port Alberni, near Vancouver, are long-time school friends who recently worked at Walmart.

Reuters
    

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