Are northern B.C. deaths, missing teens linked? 'It's possible,' RCMP says
Breaking news update: Police confirmed Tuesday in a news conference that the two investigations are linked and consider B.C. teens Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky suspects in both cases.
- Full story: Missing teens now considered suspects
It's possible that two ongoing investigations into deaths in northern B.C. are linked, the RCMP says.
Mounties were asked directly whether the cases might be connected at a news conference Monday.
"We certainly are open to those possibilities. And our investigators are speaking to each other, sharing information and certainly looking at the possibility that they may be linked," Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said.
Earlier in the news conference, Cpl. Chris Manseau was asked a similar question.
"It's possible," he said simply.
The bodies of a U.S. woman and her Australian boyfriend were found by a road worker on Highway 97 early last week.
Later identified as Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese, the couple had been on a road trip along the Alaska Highway when they were fatally shot near their vehicle.
Just days later, Mounties discovered a burning truck about a 465-kilometre drive from the first scene.
The truck was being driven by Port Alberni, B.C. teens Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, who were travelling between B.C. and the Yukon while looking for work.
The 19- and 18-year-old could not be found, and as the RCMP searched the area south of Dease Lake, they located the body of a man at a pullout on the same highway.
To get between the scenes, one would take Highway 97 over the Yukon border into Watson Lake, then back down into B.C. along Highway 37, where the truck was found.
The path between Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park and the community of Dease Lake, for example, is estimated to be a six-hour, 25-minute drive.
They said they didn't know definitively, and would not provide further information on what connections they've uncovered, if any.
The RCMP has sent additional officers up north to work on the cases.
However, the B.C. RCMP said Tuesday that another missing persons case involving an abandoned vehicle is not related.
In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson said Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr are not believed to be tied to either of the northern B.C. investigations.
The men were last seen in Surrey last week, but their vehicle was found abandoned about 300 kilometres away.
Their whereabouts remain unknown.
Premier John Horgan was asked about safety concerns Monday, in connection with the three cases.
"Whenever you have a fatality in a community, particularly one under mysterious circumstances, it gives the public pause," he said.
He said British Columbians should continue to enjoy all that the province has to offer, but should be cautious and safe.
"To the families, our deepest sympathies, and to those who are here to enjoy a holiday, continue to enjoy your holiday," Horgan said.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Sheila Scott and Allison Hurst