Search for teen murder suspects refocused after nothing comes from 'credible' tip
Published Tuesday, July 30, 2019 8:03AM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 30, 2019 12:38PM PDT
The search for two teenagers wanted for murder has shifted in Manitoba after a fruitless tip police described as "credible."
Mounties descended on the York Landing area Sunday following a report from the Bear Clan, an Indigenous volunteer patrol group, that Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod were spotted scavenging in a garbage dump.
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The RCMP combed the area on the bank of the Nelson River about 175 kilometres northeast of Thompson, but found no sign of the Port Alberni teens.
They continued to search Monday for 18-year-old Schmegelsky and 19-year-old McLeod, doing door-to-door canvassing and scouring the area from the air using helicopters and drones, but said they were unable to substantiate the tip.
"The heavy police presence in York Landing has been withdrawn and policing resources in the community is back to normal," Cpl. Julie Courchaine said in a news release.
"The RCMP thanks the community for their patience and understanding, and continues to remind residents to remain vigilant."
The small community of York Landing is located about 90 kilometres southwest of the teens' last known location – Gillam, Man. – but the RCMP said it can only be accessed by plane or a two-hour ferry.
There is also a rail line that runs about 25 kilometres away from the town.
With the area cleared, the search for the young men wanted in the deaths of Leonard Dyck, Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese is shifting back to Gillam, Mounties said.
"RCMP resources remain in the Gillam area and will continue to conduct searches in high probability areas for any signs of the suspects. The search of remote areas is being conducted both on foot and in the air," Courchaine said.
Officers have also completed door-to-door canvasses in Fox Lake Cree Nation and Gillam, visiting more than 500 homes altogether.
Schmegelsky and McLeod were in the Gillam area on July 22, the RCMP believe. A sighting of the suspects was reported that day, and a burned vehicle was found near Fox Lake Cree Nation.
The vehicle was confirmed to be the same one the suspects were known to have been travelling in, the RCMP said.
In the week since the vehicle was found, no others have been reported stolen, police said, so it's possible Schmegelsky and McLeod never left. Much of the surrounding area is wooded, and there is some speculation the suspects could be hiding in the forest.
It's also possible that someone gave the teens a lift out of town, not realizing who they were.
Last week, the RCMP issued a plea to those who'd been in the area, hypothesizing that someone may have "inadvertently" given them a ride. The teens were considered missing persons, not suspects, on July 22, so a well-meaning driver may not have realized who they were at the time, they said.
As the investigation continues, the RCMP is using Gillam as a base.
With a report from CTV National News' Todd Battis in Gillam