Human remains that police believe belong to B.C. fugitives Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky have been discovered near the Nelson River in northern Manitoba.
At a news conference, the RCMP revealed the remains – which appear to be those of 19-year-old McLeod and 18-year-old Schmegelsky – were found in dense brush near the river Wednesday morning. This discovery was made after items directly linked to the two suspects were found along the river on Friday, allowing RCMP to narrow their search to the area.
"Over the last two weeks our officers have worked tirelessly to find the suspects wanted in the homicides in British Columbia … We knew that we needed just to find that one piece of evidence that could move this search forward. On Friday, Aug. 2, that critical one piece of evidence was found: items directly linked to the suspects were located on the shoreline of the Nelson River," Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said.
"Following this discovery, we were at last able to narrow down the search … this morning at approximately 10 a.m. RCMP officers located two male bodies in the dense brush, within one kilometre of where the items were found."
RCMP say the search for the two teens has concluded.
"I'm confident that it is them," MacLatchy said. "An autopsy is being scheduled in Winnipeg to confirm their identities and to determine their cause of death."
An autopsy is being conducted but RCMP say the search for the two teens has concluded.
The two teens are suspects in the deaths of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, who were found dead on the side of a remote portion of the Alaska Highway last month.
McLeod and Schmegelsky were also charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, whose body was discovered over 400 kilometres away in Dease Lake, close to where their first vehicle was found abandoned and burned.
None of the charges against them have been proven in court.
A nationwide manhunt for the two teens was underway for just over two weeks, since they were named suspects in all three deaths on July 23. The last confirmed sighting of the two teens was on July 22 near Gillam – a small town of around 1,200 residents in northern Manitoba surrounded by unforgiving wilderness. The focus of the search had turned to the remote town after a burned out vehicle linked to the two teens was found nearby.
RCMP say the items belonging to McLeod and Schmegelsky were found eight kilometres away from that burned out vehicle.
"To the families of everyone affected by the series of events over the last few weeks, I know it has been so very difficult and I hope today's announcement can now begin to bring some closure," MacLatchy said, thanking Canadians for remaining vigilant and sending in tips.
In spite of Manitoba RCMP's discovery, Mounties in B.C. have not yet provided additional details of their investigations into the deaths.
This is a developing story. It will be updated throughout the day.