Sighting of teen murder suspects in York Landing not confirmed: RCMP
Mounties in Manitoba are continuing their search for two teens who have been named suspects in the deaths of three people in northern B.C.
At a news conference Monday, RCMP said they have received recent reports that the teens were seen in York Landing but said that, as they have not made contact with the teens, they cannot confirm this sighting.
"Last night at approximately 5 p.m. the RCMP received a tip that two males matching the description of the wanted suspects were seen in York Landing," Cpl. Julie Courchaine said Monday, adding that the focus is to find the two people that looked like the teens and identify them.
"Officers searched the York Landing area throughout the night and continue their efforts today. The Royal Canadian Air Force is also assisting today with the search."
Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, 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 have also been 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.
A nationwide manhunt for the two teens has been underway since they were named suspects in all three deaths on July 23.
The search turned to York Landing on Sunday, after Manitoba RCMP said they received a tip. The tip of an unconfirmed sighting came from the Bear Clan Patrol, an Indigenous volunteer civilian patrol group, who said they saw two men who looked like the suspects near the area's landfill.
The small community is about 90 kilometres southwest of Gillam, Man. where RCMP say the last confirmed sighting of the teens was. However, it can only be accessed by plane or by a two-hour ferry in the summer, Courchaine said. There is also a rail line that runs approximately 25 kilometres of the town.
Shortly after 12:30 p.m. Monday, Manitoba RCMP posted to Twitter that "after a thorough and exhaustive search" they had "not been able to substantiate the tip in York Landing."
Searches would continue in both Gillam and York Landing, they said.
RCMP are also asking the public to not share police officers' locations on social media and to only send tips to them directly, rather than sharing them online.
"I think that some of the misinformation being spread over social media does create issues," Courchaine said.
Courchaine said during the news conference that the terrain around York Landing is very similar to the rough, unforgiving wilderness around Gillam.
"It is challenging terrain, lots of forest," she said.
Over the weekend, police went door-to-door in Gillam, Man. speaking to locals and searching abandoned buildings for the suspects.
Overhead in Gillam on Saturday, a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-130H Hercules aircraft aided with the search. The RCMP asked the military for its assistance on Friday.
Aboard the Hercules were two pilots, an air combat systems officer, a flight engineer, a loadmaster and two search and rescue technicians, according to the Department of National Defence. An RCMP officer was also on board to direct the search.
On the ground, residents of Gillam expressed worry.
"It's just been really scary," said resident Kim Halcrow of the last several days in the town.
Mounties remind the public that McLeod and Schmegelsky are considered dangerous. Anyone who encounters them should immediately contact 911, 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.