Canada Police Find Two Bodies Believed to Be Teen Fugitives

By Reuters

Canadian police said on Wednesday, Aug. 7, they found two bodies which they believe are of the fugitive teenage boys charged with killing a university lecturer and suspected in the murders of two tourists in British Columbia.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, both from Port Alberni, British Columbia, had been on the run for nearly three weeks with confirmed sightings since July 22 and sparked an intense Canadian manhunt.

Police declined to say how the two had died, saying that they would wait for the autopsy to confirm their identities and cause of death.

Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, (L) and Kam McLeod
Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, (L) and Kam McLeod, 19. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

The pair was charged with second-degree murder of Leonard Dyck, 64, a botany lecturer at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. They are also suspects in the murders of Chynna Deese, 24, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Lucas Fowler, 23, from Sydney, Australia.

The bodies were found 1 km (0.6 mile) from where the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said “significant evidence” was discovered on Friday, and 8 km (4.97 miles) from where McLeod and Schmegelsky’s burning car was found on July 22, police said.

The significant evidence, which the RCMP continues to decline to describe, proved to be “critical” in finding the bodies, Jane MacLatchy, assistant commissioner with the RCMP in Manitoba, told a news conference in Winnipeg.

“The manhunt in Manitoba is over,” Ralph Goodale, federal minister of public safety, tweeted on Wednesday.

The difficulty of the terrain was cited as a reason for the delay in finding the bodies.

The forest was so thick that linking arms and traversing ground, as is normally done in search operations, was out of the question, MacLatchy said.

“There’s obviously a certain amount of relief that we were able to locate these people and hopefully bring some closure not only to the families of the victims but also to the people of Gillam, Fox Lake and York Landing,” MacLatchy said, referencing the three Manitoba communities which have been at the center of the manhunt for McLeod and Schmegelsky.

Father: Manhunt Will End in Son’s Death

The father of Schmegelsky said on July 24, he expects a nationwide manhunt to end in the death of his son, who is on “a suicide mission.”

McLeod and Schmegelsky themselves were originally considered missing persons and only became suspects in the case.

Schmegelsky’s father, Alan Schmegelsky, said that his son had a troubled upbringing and is in “very serious pain.” His son struggled through his parents’ acrimonious split in 2005 and his main influences became video games and YouTube, the father said.

“A normal child doesn’t travel across the country killing people. A child in some very serious pain does,” Alan Schmegelsky told Canadian Press. He said he expects his son will die in a confrontation with police.

“He’s on a suicide mission. He wants his pain to end,” the father said, breaking into tears. “Basically, he’s going to be dead today or tomorrow. I know that. Rest in peace, Bryer. I love you. I’m so sorry all this had to happen.”

Even if his son is caught, his life will be over, he said. “He wants his hurt to end. They’re going to go out in a blaze of glory. Trust me on this.”

Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese (L) and university lecturer Len Dyck
Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese (L) and university lecturer Len Dyck. (British Dwayne/Facebook/Royal Canadian Mounted Police via CNN)

The father said he and his wife separated when their son was 5. She moved with the boy to the small Vancouver Island community of Port Alberni, where he met McLeod. They attended the same elementary school and quickly became inseparable best friends.

They were “everyday, good kids” who didn’t get into trouble, but his son had problems at home and, at 16, briefly moved to Victoria to live with him, Alan Schmegelsky said. The boy then returned to Port Alberni to live with his grandmother.

His son doesn’t own any firearms and doesn’t know how to drive, Alan Schmegelsky said. He worked at the Port Alberni Walmart after graduating from high school earlier this year, but was disappointed with the job and told his dad he was setting off to Alberta with McLeod to look for work.

The father recalled that his son bought a nice black suit with his second paycheck from Walmart.

“Now I realize it’s his funeral suit,” he said.

In Port Alberni, signs with “No Trespassing” were staked outside McLeod’s large waterfront family home. His father, Keith McLeod, released a written statement.

“This is what I do know—Kam is a kind, considerate, caring young man (who) always has been concerned about other people’s feelings,” McLeod said.

Security camera images recorded in Saskatchewan of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are displayed as RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett speaks during a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on July 23, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
Security camera images recorded in Saskatchewan of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are displayed as RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett speaks during a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on July 23, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

“As we are trapped in our homes due to media people, we try to wrap our heads around what is happening and hope that Kam will come home to us safely so we can all get to the bottom of this story.”

The separate discoveries of three bodies and a burning car have shaken rural northern British Columbia.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.