Authorities believe they have found the bodies of two Canadian men suspected of killing three people before beginning a long trek across the country last month, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Wednesday.
The bodies were found on the bank of the Nelson River after a weekslong manhunt focused in northern Manitoba, said Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy, commanding officer of the Manitoba RCMP.
The scene was about five miles from where a car thought to be stolen by the pair was located last month, and close to where Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were reportedly last seen July 22.
“I’m confident that it is them,” she said, adding that an autopsy will confirm the identities of the deceased, who were from the Vancouver area.
MacLatchy said she could not say how they died, or how long they have been dead.
The teens are suspected of killing North Carolina resident Chynna Deese, 24, and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, 23.
Deese and Fowler were on a road trip through Canada to Alaska, their families said. Fowler was living in British Columbia, and they were exploring the area while Deese was visiting, RCMP said.
The victims’ bodies were discovered on July 15 on a remote highway in northern British Columbia. Four days later, investigators found the burned out gray Dodge pickup McLeod and Schmegelsky were traveling in, and said the teens were missing.
The body of Vancouver university professor Leonard Dyck was discovered also on July 19, and authorities believe McLeod and Schmegelsky were responsible for Dyck’s death, as well.
Dyck was a lecturer in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Botany and worked as a research associate at the university’s DeWreede Lab, where his research focused on seaweeds.
The suspects were later seen in his RAV4 in Saskatchewan, a few days before that vehicle was found burned out in Manitoba, near the small, remote town of Gillam.
Kevin Hackett, the RCMP assistant commissioner in British Columbia, said the investigation is not yet closed even though authorities believe the suspects were the killers.
He said it will be difficult to determine what the motive was for the slayings. But authorities are sure the two killings are connected.
“There was significant evidence that linked our suspects to both crime scenes,” he said.
Officials narrowed the search area after critical evidence was found on the shore of the river Friday. The remains were found Wednesday around 10 a.m. in very dense brush less than a kilometer from where the evidence was discovered.
Schmegelsky’s father told The Canadian Press two weeks ago that his son had planned to go out in “a blaze of glory.”
Alan Schmegelsky said his son had been in mental anguish.
McLeod and his son hung out a lot together, he said.
Both had jobs at Walmart, but said they weren’t making enough money and decided to go to Alberta to look for work, he said.