An intense search for two fugitive teenagers charged with murdering a Vancouver man and suspected in the double homicide of a tourist couple in northern B.C. continued Thursday.Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, were last spotted in northern Manitoba. Police confirmed Wednesday that the grey SUV they were driving was found burned in the area.The teens, both from Port Alberni, are suspects in the double homicide of Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, and Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23. The couple was shot to death in Northern B.C. last Monday while they were on a road trip.On Wednesday, the teens were charged with the second-degree murder of Vancouver man Leonard Dyck, 64, whose body was found July 19 near Dease Lake, more than 470 kilometres away from the first crime scene.While Manitoba police haven’t said much about the search, Simon Fraser University criminology professor Neil Boyd, who is an expert in the field of criminal law and homicide, said Thursday that in serious cases like this authorities would likely use every resource, including infrared technology, helicopters, dogs, and drones.He speculated that if the teens are on foot they wouldn’t get far and would likely be found by the end of day, or they could have broken into a house.Or, what he says is more likely, they are not even in Manitoba.“It seems strange to me that they would torch a car without having another one ready to go,” said Boyd. “But nothing they are doing is rational.”Boyd thinks the police have more information about a motive in all three homicides, but that “understandably” they would withhold that information because of the investigation.Meantime, tributes were being posted online to Dyck, who taught botany at the University of British Columbia and worked as a research associate in the school’s DeWreede Lab.
Leonard Dyck, a lecturer in the Department of Botany at UBC, was found dead near Dease Lake on July 19. Port Alberni teenagers Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, have been charged with second-degree murder in connection with his death.
RCMP have identified the man discovered deceased on July 19, 2019 at a Highway pullout about 2 kilometres south of the vehicle fire south of Stikine River Bridge on Highway 37 is Leonard Dyck from Vancouver.
“We are truly heartbroken 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,” Dyck’s family said in a statement.Alan Schmegelsky says his son Bryer had a troubled upbringing. He said he believes his son struggled through his parents’ acrimonious split in 2005 and his main influences became video games and YouTube. Schmegelsky thinks his son may be “in some very serious pain” and might want “his hurt to end.”RELATEDHe told The Canadian Press he expects his son will die in a confrontation with police. “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.”
Alan Schmegelsky, father of Bryer Schmegelsky, poses for a photo.
Laura Kane /
THE CANADIAN PRESS
On Wednesday, Keith McLeod, the father of Kam McLeod, issued a statement saying his son was a kind and caring person.“I’m sitting at home worrying about my son. … This is what I do know. Kam is a kind, considerate, caring young man, always has been concerned about other people’s feelings,” said McLeod.“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.”At a press conference on Wednesday, Manitoba Mounties said Schmegelsky and McLeod were spotted in the area of Gillam, a town of 1,200 people in northern Manitoba. Police said a car found burned and discarded near the Fox Lake Cree Nation reserve of Bird was the stolen Toyota RAV4 SUV that the two had been reported driving.“We have received numerous tips and information … and are continuing to ask for the public’s assistance,” said RCMP Cpl. Julie Courchaine.“If you see something suspicious, call police. We are also reminding everyone that these suspects should not be approached if seen and to call 911 or your local police immediately.”The deputy mayor of Gillam, John McDonald, said residents are locking their doors earlier than usual after they heard the suspects had been in their town.McDonald said people in Gillam are also making sure their vehicles are locked while the RCMP search for the pair.Extra police officers have been brought in for a search focused about 70 kilometres northwest of the town near the reserve.Residents are used to seeing strangers come and go from Manitoba Hydro projects, McDonald said, but they’re paying closer attention to faces since the release of photos of the suspects and word Tuesday that both were seen in the area.Gillam is about 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg and is a stop on the railway line that eventually leads to Churchill, Man. There is only one major road in and out of the area.McDonald said if McLeod and Schmegelsky are there, they are in country known for its thick bush, swamps and pesky insects, and where it’s easy to get lost.
July 23, 2019: RCMP issued a public waring over Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky. The pair are suspects in the murder of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese.
“If they are wandering around in the bush, they couldn’t have picked a worse time because the sandflies came out three days ago and they’re just voracious,” he said Wednesday. “I’m quite sure they’ll be more than happy to have someone find them.”An informational check stop has been set up at an intersection on the road leading into Gillam, police said.The bodies of Fowler and Deese, who had been on a road trip together in Fowler’s blue van, were found on a remote stretch of highway near the Liard Hot Springs on July 15. Police have said they were both shot to death.
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. The couple were found murdered along the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, Canada, on Monday, July 15, 2019.
Chynna Deese /
The Associated Press
Chynna Deese pictured with Lucas Fowler. The two were found murdered off the Alaska highway last week.
McLeod and Schmegelsky’s burned-out truck and Dyck’s body were found four days later near Dease Lake.McLeod and Schmegelsky, both from Vancouver Island and said to be on their way to Whitehorse to look for work, were originally considered missing by police. They were named as suspects Tuesday, though investigators wouldn’t say why.They had been spotted in Meadow Lake, Sask., on Sunday before the search in northern Manitoba.Speaking with reporters in Saskatoon, federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said police are doing everything they can to track down the suspects.“Obviously when violent incidents occur, we take it very, very seriously and we take all the necessary steps with the police and otherwise, to make sure that people can have confidence about their safety,” Goodale said.McLeod and Schmegelsky are both 6-foot-4 and both weigh 169 pounds. McLeod has dark brown hair and facial hair and brown eyes, while Schmegelsky has sandy brown hair.With files from The Canadian Press, Lora Grindlay, Stephanie Ip, Scott Brown
Chief Inspector Stephen Fowler of the New South Wales Police comments on the shooting death of his son Lucas Fowler and his girlfriend, Chynna Deese in northern BC. last week, in Surrey BC., July 22, 2019.
NICK PROCAYLO /