The SUV stolen by Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky was found torched in northern Manitoba. (Submitted/Black Press Media)

UPDATE: SUV stolen by suspects in B.C. deaths found torched in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in connection to three deaths

The vehicle stolen by two teen suspects in three northern B.C. deaths has been found torched in Manitoba, RCMP confirmed Wednesday.

The grey 2011 Toyota Rav 4 the two suspects were driving was found in the Gillam area.

Residents of a remote northern Manitoba town are locking their doors earlier than usual after word of a police manhunt in the area for two suspects in the deaths of three people in northern B.C.

Deputy Mayor John McDonald said people in Gillam were also making sure their vehicles are locked while the RCMP search for 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky.

The teens are suspects in the killings of Lucas Fowler, 23, and Chynna Deese, 24, on July 15. The couple were travelling northern B.C. in their van. Fowler, originally from Australia, had been travelling the world when he reportedly met Deese in Croatia in 2017.

Later that week, on July 19, a burned truck belonging to McLeod and Schmegelsky was found 50 kilometres south of Dease Lake. The body of an unidentified man was found two kilometres away, in a highway pullout.

McLeod and Schmegelsky, who are from Port Alberni, were said to have been travelling to Whitehorse or Alberta to look for work.

READ MORE: Father of teen suspect in B.C. deaths: ‘I’m sitting at home worrying about my son’

READ MORE: Father of suspect in 3 B.C. deaths expects son will go out in ‘blaze of glory’

They have since been spotted in northern Saskatchewan before being seen near Gillam.

Residents in Gillam are used to seeing strangers come and go from Manitoba Hydro projects, McDonald said, but they’re paying closer attention to faces since the release of photos of the suspects and word Tuesday that both may be in the area.

He said extra officers have been brought in for a search focused about 70 kilometres northwest of the town near Fox Lake Cree Nation, where Chief Walter Spence has said police would be patrolling all night.

Gillam is about 11 hours north of Winnipeg and is a stop on the railway line that eventually leads to Churchill, Man. There is only one major road in and out of the area.

McDonald said if McLeod and Schmegelsky are there, they are in country known for its thick bush, swamps and pesky insects, and where it’s easy to get lost.

“If they are wandering around in the bush, they couldn’t have picked a worse time because the sandflies came out three days ago and they’re just voracious,” he said Wednesday.

“I’m quite sure they’ll be more than happy to have someone find them.”

The Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc., who represent First Nations in northern Manitoba, are also warning community members to be careful.

“I encourage residents in the area of Fox Lake to remain vigilant while the RCMP conduct their search for these two suspects,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee in a statement.

“If you think you see these suspects, please consider them as dangerous. Do not approach them. Contact the RCMP or call 911 immediately.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s incomprehensible’: Locals react to Port Alberni teens wanted for 3 deaths

Manitoba RCMP said they were working with B.C. Mounties.

“We have received numerous tips and information … and are continuing to ask for the public’s assistance” said Cpl. Julie Courchaine.

“If you see something suspicious, call police. We are also reminding everyone that these suspects should not be approached if seen and to call 911 or your local police immediately.”

An informational checkstop has been set up at an intersection on the only road leading into Gillam, RCMP said.

Speaking with reporters in Saskatoon, federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said police are doing everything they can to track down the suspects.

“Obviously when violent incidents occur, we take it very, very seriously and we take all the necessary steps with the police and otherwise, to make sure that people can have confidence about their safety,” Goodale said.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@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

UPDATED: Itska back in owner’s arms after Oak Bay man returns dog taken from Tofino

Shannon Boothman expects to be reunited with Itska on Sunday

Tofino and Ucluelet’s Top 10 sports and arts stories of 2019

Revisiting the Coast’s best sports and arts newsmakers of the past year.

Rent-It Centre takes over curbside collection contract in Tofino and Ucluelet

Rent It Centre’s bid was $25,865 lower than the only other bidder, SonBird Refuse and Recycling.

Tofino’s first cannabis dispensary opens

“I don’t know where it’s going, but happy how it’s gone so far.”

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Most Read