Burned-out car found near Gillam, Man. linked to teen suspects in B.C. deaths: RCMP
Alyse Kotyk, Kendra Mangione, CTV News Vancouver
Published Wednesday, July 24, 2019 7:16AM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 24, 2019 1:46PM PDT
Update: On July 24, Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were charged with second degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck
Mounties have confirmed that a burned out vehicle found near Gillam, Man. is linked to two teens named suspects in the deaths of three people in northern B.C.
The car had been discovered burned and abandoned near Fox Lake Cree Nation – a community about 55 kilometres northeast of Gillam – on Monday evening
- More coverage: Interactive map traces events in B.C.'s north and across the country
- Read more: What we know so far about the deaths in northern B.C.
Previously, it was unknown if the car had any connection to a nationwide manhunt for the two suspects, but at a news conference Wednesday, RCMP officers said the vehicle had been used by Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18.
Additional police have been sent to the Gillam area as a result of this new information and informational checks have been set up at PR 280 and PR 290, the road leading into Gillam.
Mounties also warn that there will be a significant police presence around Gillam, particularly as officers from around the country are heading to the area for additional support.
Police wouldn't confirm that there have been any additional sightings of McLeod or Schmegelsky.
"With respect to public safety, we understand the concerns being raised. This is a complex, on-going investigation, involving multiple jurisdictions. We are engaged with police across Canada," said Cpl. Julie Courchaine.
"We are investigating all tips and are continuing to ask for the public’s assistance."
After the car was found earlier in the week, Fox Lake Cree Nation Chief Walter Spence said an all-night patrol was prepared in the community as a precaution.
"The RCMP are carefully conducting their work with a large presence and I would like to ask all community members to report anything of concern directly to RCMP," Spence said in a statement.
RCMP say the two teens are suspects in the death of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese after their bodies were discovered on the side of a remote portion of the Alaska Highway.
They are also suspects in the death of an unidentified man discovered over 400 kilometres away in Dease Lake, close to where the first vehicle they had been driving was found abandoned and burned.
Consider them dangerous, do not approach'
Mounties are reminding the public that, if they see McLeod and Schmegelsky, to call 911 immediately and not to approach them.
McLeod is described as 6’4”, approximately 169 pounds, with dark brown hair and facial hair and brown eyes.
Schmegelsky is described as 6’4”, approximately 169 pounds, with sandy brown hair.
However, Mounties say the two men may have changed their appearance or switched vehicles since they were last seen.
The RCMP is investigating their alleged role in the double homicide of Fowler and Deese, and the death of an unidentified man found near a burning pickup truck. Their bodies were found in a span of four days on remote stretches of two B.C. highways.
Efforts continue to contact a man who may have interacted with Fowler and Deese before they were fatally shot. They are not calling the man shown in a sketch provided Monday a suspect in the case.
The couple's bodies were found on Highway 97 on July 15, near the blue 1986 Chevy van they'd been using for a road trip.
The teens' truck was found on Highway 37, about 460 kilometres away. The body of the unidentified man was on a highway pullout about two kilometres from the truck.
On Tuesday, RCMP did not provide further information on the man or his cause of death, and said they're still hoping the public will help identify him.
RCMP also wouldn’t explain how they linked McLeod and Schmegelsky to both cases, saying only that they received new information.
"We have to make sure the integrity of our investigation is upheld," BC RCMP Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said at a news conference Tuesday.
This is a developing breaking news story and will continue to be updated