The two Port Alberni teens suspected in three B.C. deaths killed themselves, a Manitoba medical examiner has ruled.
“The RCMP can also confirm that the two died in what appears to be suicides by gunfire,” police said in a statement.
Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, both 19, were found dead in the Manitoba brush near the Nelson River Aug. 7.
The pair led police on a cross-country chase since two bodies were found on the side of the Alaska Highway in northeastern B.C. Four days later, another body was found on Highway 37 near Dease Lake.
McLeod and Schmegelsky had been charged in one death and were suspects in two others.
“Police can also confirm that two firearms were also located with the two deceased males and forensic analysis is underway in order to definitively confirm that these weapons are connected with the northern B.C. homicide investigations,” police said, adding it was apparent they had been alive while police searched the Gillam, Manitoba area.
What led police to the area was a burned out vehicle belonging to Leonard Dyck, a retired University of B.C. lecturer, whose body was found by a road near Dease Lake on B.C.’s Highway 37.
Canada-wide warrants were issued for McLeod and Schmegelsky, who were charged with second-degree murder in connection with Dyck’s.
His body was found a few kilometres from the teens’ burned-out pickup truck on Highway 37.
At first, police said the teens were missing.
The Port Alberni childhood friends were also suspects in the killings of American Chynna Deese and Australian Lucas Fowler. Their bodies were found along the Alaska Highway July 15 near a van they had been travelling in.
Police said last week the Dyck and Deese-Fowler homicides were related.
“Investigators are now assessing all items located in Manitoba, along with the previous findings related to the three northern B.C. homicide investigations, in order to gain more clarity into what happened to Leonard Dyck, Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese,” police said Monday. “The assessment will review all the investigative findings to date, whether it is statements, evidentiary time lines, physical or digital evidence, and the B.C. RCMP have also have engaged our Behavioural Analysis Unit.” B.C. RCMP will be completing a review of the case “within the next few weeks” after which the families will be updated and information released publicly.
RCMP assistant commissioner Kevin Hackett said Aug. 7 that the suspects’ deaths do not mean the homicide case is over, he said.
Hackett said the B.C. case remains open until all evidence is assessed to confirm investigative theories. That would include ruling out any other possible suspects.
“We anticipated the charges were going to be laid,” Hackett said. “There is significant evidence that links both crime scenes together.”
He said there doesn’t appear to be anything linking the victims.
Hackett said Dyck’s injuries are known but out of respect for his family there is no need to reveal them for his family’s sake.
The pair had been spotted in Saskatchewan before Dyck’s car was found torched near Gillam. A house-to-house search was undertaken before forces moved to nearby York Factory after an unconfirmed sighting of two men scavenging in the town dump.
The sighting led to a community lockdown and heavy search. A similar search was done around Gillam and police remain in the area.