Bodies Believed to be B.C. Murder Suspects Found in Manitoba

August 7, 2019 Updated: August 7, 2019

WINNIPEG—Two bodies believed to be British Columbia murder suspects who were the focus of a massive manhunt have been found in dense brush in northern Manitoba.

RCMP assistant commissioner Jane MacLatchy said the bodies were found Wednesday morning near the shoreline of the Nelson River, within a kilometre from where several items linked to the two young men were found last week.

“Over the last two weeks, our officers have worked tirelessly to find the suspects,” MacLatchy told reporters in Winnipeg.

“While there were no confirmed sightings since July 22nd, our officers never gave up in their search efforts—following-up on every lead, considering all options, and using every available resource.”

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, from Port Alberni, B.C., were facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of Leonard Dyck, a university lecturer from Vancouver.

Dyck’s body was discovered along a highway pullout two kilometres south of Dease Lake, B.C., on July 19.

The RCMP have said McLeod and Schmegelsky were also suspects in the shooting deaths of American tourist Chynna Deese and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler. Their bodies were found along a highway near Liard Hot Springs, B.C., on July 15.

Police initially treated McLeod and Schmegelsky as missing when their charred vehicle was found not far from Dyck’s body, but investigators later deemed them to be suspects after they were spotted in northern Saskatchewan.

The manhunt stretched into northern Manitoba when a second burned-out vehicle used by the young men was found July 23 near the town of Gillam.

MacLatchy said their bodies were about eight kilometres from where that vehicle, a Toyota RAV4, was located.

“At this time, we are confident that these are the bodies of the two suspects wanted in connection with the homicides in British Columbia,” MacLatchy said Wednesday afternoon.

She said autopsies will be done in Winnipeg to confirm their identities and to determine the cause of death.

Father: Manhunt Will End in Son’s Death

The father of Schmegelsky said on July 24, he expects a nationwide manhunt to end in the death of his son, who is on “a suicide mission.”

McLeod and Schmegelsky themselves were originally considered missing persons and only became suspects in the case.

Schmegelsky’s father, Alan Schmegelsky, said that his son had a troubled upbringing and is in “very serious pain.” His son struggled through his parents’ acrimonious split in 2005 and his main influences became video games and YouTube, the father said.

“A normal child doesn’t travel across the country killing people. A child in some very serious pain does,” Alan Schmegelsky told Canadian Press. He said he expects his son will die in a confrontation with police.

“He’s on a suicide mission. He wants his pain to end,” the father said, breaking into tears. “Basically, he’s going to be dead today or tomorrow. I know that. Rest in peace, Bryer. I love you. I’m so sorry all this had to happen.”

Even if his son is caught, his life will be over, he said. “He wants his hurt to end. They’re going to go out in a blaze of glory. Trust me on this.”

Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler
In this undated photo provided by the Deese family of Chynna Deese, 23-year-old Australian Lucas Fowler, left, and 24-year-old American girlfriend Chynna Deese poses for a selfie. (Deese Family via AP)

The father said he and his wife separated when their son was 5. She moved with the boy to the small Vancouver Island community of Port Alberni, where he met McLeod. They attended the same elementary school and quickly became inseparable best friends.

They were “everyday, good kids” who didn’t get into trouble, but his son had problems at home and, at 16, briefly moved to Victoria to live with him, Alan Schmegelsky said. The boy then returned to Port Alberni to live with his grandmother.

His son doesn’t own any firearms and doesn’t know how to drive, Alan Schmegelsky said. He worked at the Port Alberni Walmart after graduating from high school earlier this year, but was disappointed with the job and told his dad he was setting off to Alberta with McLeod to look for work.

The father recalled that his son bought a nice black suit with his second paycheck from Walmart.

“Now I realize it’s his funeral suit,” he said.

In Port Alberni, signs with “No Trespassing” were staked outside McLeod’s large waterfront family home. His father, Keith McLeod, released a written statement.

“This is what I do know—Kam is a kind, considerate, caring young man (who) always has been concerned about other people’s feelings,” McLeod said.

Security camera images recorded in Saskatchewan of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are displayed as RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett speaks during a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on July 23, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
Security camera images recorded in Saskatchewan of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are displayed as RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett speaks during a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on July 23, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

“As we are trapped in our homes due to media people, we try to wrap our heads around what is happening and hope that Kam will come home to us safely so we can all get to the bottom of this story.”

The separate discoveries of three bodies and a burning car have shaken rural northern British Columbia.

During the investigation, police found the body of what was then an unidentified man roughly a mile from a burned-out car.

That was about 300 miles from the spot along the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs where Deese and Fowler were found shot dead over a week ago.

Fowler, the son of a chief inspector with the New South Wales Police Department, was living in British Columbia and Deese was visiting him.

The couple had met at a hostel in Croatia and their romance blossomed as they adventured across the U.S., Mexico, Peru and elsewhere, said British Deese, the woman’s older brother.

British Deese said the couple was on a trip to visit Canadian national parks and said the family believes they must have had engine trouble in their van.

Dyck’s family said in a statement on July 24: “We are truly heart broken by the sudden and tragic loss of Len. He was a loving husband and father. His death has created unthinkable grief and we are struggling to understand what has happened.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.