The Royal Canadian Mounted Police say two teens wanted in connection with three killings in British Columbia have been spotted twice in the rugged area of northeast Manitoba — 2,000 miles away — where they apparently escaped on foot after burning their car.
Authorities, who are using drones, dogs and armed police in their search, were first alerted to search the Gillam area for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, after their burned-out car was found Monday near the small town of Gillam, population 1,200.
The two sightings, which police say have been corroborated, took place before the car was discovered, according to RCMP Cpl. Julie Courchaine.
There is only one road in and out of Gillam, which is situated alongside Stephens Lake near a hydroelectric dam, leading authorities to believe the pair likely fled into the wilderness on foot. Courchaine noted Thursday that there have been no reports of stolen vehicles that could be tied to the fugitives.
Courchaine described the terrain around Gillam as unforgiving. “There’s lots of dense bush, forest, swampy area, so it is very challenging,” she said.
McLeod and Schmegelsky, lifelong friends from Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, are charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of a Vancouver man, Leonard Dyck, 64.
They are also suspects in the earlier double homicide of an American, Chynna Deese, 24, and an Australian, Lucas Fowler, 23, whose bodies were discovered July 15 along the Alaska Highway in British Columbia about 300 miles from the Dyck murder scene.
Dyck’s body was found about a mile from a burned-out camper that two teens had originally been driving.
The two teens, who had worked together at a Walmart in their town, were purportedly heading to the Yukon area to look for work, according to Schmegelsky’s father, Alan Schmegelsky.
He told the Canadian Press on Wednesday that he fears his son, who had a troubled upbringing, is on a “suicide mission.”
“He wants his hurt to end,” he said. “They’re going to go out in a blaze of glory. Trust me on this. That’s what they’re going to do.”
Schmegelsky said his son’s main influences were video games and YouTube.
“A normal child doesn’t travel across the country killing people,” he said. “A child in some very serious pain does.”
Police also said Thursday that they were investigating a photograph of Nazi paraphernalia allegedly sent online by one of the suspects.
Schmegelsky allegedly sent photographs of a swastika armband and a Hitler Youth knife to an online friend on the video-game network Steam.
Contributing: Associated Press