Police believe they have found the bodies of fugitives Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky in northern Manitoba, ending a cross-Canada search for the men suspected of killing three people in B.C.
RCMP officers found two male bodies Wednesday at approximately 10 a.m. local time in the area of Fox Lake Cree Nation, a community about 70 kilometres northeast of Gillam, Man.
The remains were discovered approximately a kilometre from where items linked to the fugitives were found along the Nelson River, and eight kilometres from where a torched SUV, allegedly driven by the men, was found in Fox Lake.
“At this time, we believe that these are the bodies of the two suspects wanted in connection with the homicides in British Columbia,” said Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy, commanding officer of the Manitoba RCMP.
An autopsy will take place in Winnipeg to confirm the identities of the male bodies and determine their causes of death, MacLatchy said.
RCMP in British Columbia are holding a news conference at 3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET). CBC News will carry it live.
McLeod, 19 and Schmegelsky, whose 19th birthday was on Monday, have been the focus of a nationwide search for more than two weeks.
The two men were charged with second-degree murder in the death of 64-year-old University of British Columbia lecturer, Leonard Dyck.
McLeod and Schmegelsky are also suspects in the shooting deaths of Lucas Fowler, 23, an Australian, and Chynna Deese, 24, an American. The couple was discovered gunned down alongside the Alaska Highway, south of Liard Hot Springs, B.C., on July 15.
RCMP searched for days along highways in northern Manitoba and in the rugged, swampy area around the communities of Gillam and York Landing, for the fugitives.
Police had warned the public they considered Schmegelsky and McLeod armed and dangerous, and investigators across the country worked to find them.
RCMP focused on Gillam after their SUV was found torched near Fox Lake Cree Nation, about 55 kilometres northeast of town.
The search briefly concentrated on York Landing, Man. after the suspects were thought to have been seen in the area.
The RCMP scaled down the search on July 31 due to a lack of leads.
A break in the investigation came Aug. 2 when police found personal items linked to Schmegelsky and McLeod on the banks of the Nelson River and were able to narrow their search.
Dwayne Forman, mayor of Gillam, was thankful to hear the search is over.
“[I’m feeling] just a sense of relief for all communities involved in the north here … knowing that we don’t have to be concerned about the presence of these individuals any longer,” he said.
Forman is working with Fox Lake Cree Nation Chief Walter Spence to organize a community meeting to discuss the news.