B.C. murder suspects could face 'horrific situations' in northern Manitoba: survival expert
CTV News Vancouver
Published Friday, July 26, 2019 5:24PM PDT
Canadian survival expert Les Stroud says a pair of teen murder suspects on the run from authorities in northern Manitoba could face "brutal" conditions if they're not prepared to spend time in the wilderness.
Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, have been on the lam for days after being named suspects in connection with three deaths in northern British Columbia.
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The last confirmed sightings of the pair were near Gillam, Man., a town of about 1,200 surrounded by remote, unforgiving wilderness that Stroud said could prove extremely challenging for the young men.
"If they are completely uninitiated into what it's like to be out in the bush at this time of year and the kind of bush that they're in then they could be up against horrific situations," he told CTV News.
"It's one thing to camp. It's one thing to have kit. It's another thing to just be trying to exist and survive."
Stroud said the pair's ability to survive in that part of the country will come down to experience and preparation.
"If they're highly skilled and they grew up hunting and fishing and tripping out in the woods, then they may know a great deal of how to handle what's going on out there," he said.
McLeod and Schmegelsky and wanted in connection with the deaths of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese, whose bodies were found last week on the Alaska Highway, some 20 kilometres south of Liard Hot Springs.
The teens have also been charged with the second-degree murder of UBC lecturer Leonard Dyck, whose remains were discovered near the B.C. community of Dease Lake.
While charges have been laid in the death of Dyck, investigations are still underway in the deaths of Fowler and Deese.
In an update on Friday, Mounties in Manitoba said someone may have "inadvertently" helped the pair leave the Gillam area.
The area has been hit by rain over the past several days, and the precipitation is expected to continue over the weekend, according to Environment Canada.
Stroud said the wet weather could work to the suspects' advantage if they're prepared.
"If they're prepared, it can actually, in many ways, I suppose assist because it blurs out their trail, it gets rid of footprints quicker, it's more difficult dogs to smell them if it's pouring with rain. It does kind of give the advance to the person on the run if the weather is bad."
Mounties are reminding the public to consider McLeod and Schmegelsky dangerous and to immediately contact 911 if they're spotted, rather than approaching the teens.
However, anyone who wants to reach police in the Gillam area needs to call 204-652-2200.
McLeod is described as 6'4", about 170 pounds, with dark brown hair and facial hair and brown eyes.
Schmegelsky is described as 6'4", about 170 pounds, with sandy brown hair.
Police say they may have changed their appearance.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Alyse Kotyk