A polar bear is spotted in northern Manitoba on July 27, 2019, while investigators search for fugitives Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky 18, who are wanted in the alleged killing of Leonard Dyck, Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler. (Manitoba RCMP/Twitter)

Polar bears, sandflies: B.C. fugitives may be going on 5 days in Manitoba wilderness

Police spotted a polar bear while searching the vast terrain of northern Manitoba for two Port Alberni men

As police in northern Manitoba search through dense forest, thick bush and vast terrain in their hunt for two young men wanted in three homicides, theories are mounting online of where Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky could be – including a possibility shared by investigators that they may be long gone.

If they are still in the area, going on five days since the last confirmed sighting in Gillam, Man., the two fugitives are up against some of the most difficult conditions Canada’s wilderness has to offer during the summer months.

TIMELINE: RCMP search abandoned homes, work camps for B.C. murder suspects

McLeod and Schmegelsky left Port Alberni by truck on July 13, according to family. They are wanted as suspects in the double homicide of Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler, who were found shot to death on July 15 on the Alaska Highway. They are also charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Leonard Dyck, who was found July 19 on Highway 37, near Dease Lake – 500 kilometres from where Deese and Fowler were killed.

Based on sightings confirmed by RCMP, McLeod and Schmegelsky travelled more than 3,000 kilometres between July 19 and July 22, when the Rav-4 they were driving was found torched in the remote northern Manitoba town. Police said Thursday that there had been no reports of stolen vehicles in the area or new confirmed sightings, leading investigators to believe the suspected killers are still in the region.

Security camera images recorded in Saskatchewan of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are displayed as RCMP Sgt. Janelle Shoihet listens during a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday July 23, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

In recent days, weather has turned wet and rainy around Gillam, according to Environment Canada, with storm-like conditions forecast through the weekend.

While Manitoba’s remote north offers plenty of lakes with an abundance of freshwater fish, as well as berries, Gillam deputy mayor John McDonald said earlier this week that the region is also known for its thick bush, swamps and pesky insects.

It’s also easy to get lost.

READ MORE: RCMP getting air support from military in hunt for McLeod, Schmegelsky

“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.”

Then there’s the wildlife: wolves, black bears and the odd polar bear that wanders down from the Hudson Bay – one of which was spotted by investigators while searching for McLeod and Schmegelsky on Saturday, about 200 kilometres north of Gillam.

RCMP Cpl. Julie Courchaine speaks to media about the ongoing RCMP search in Gillam, Man., for the BC murder suspects Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod, in Winnipeg, Friday, July 26, 2019. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

“Just some of the wildlife that can be found in northern Manitoba,” RCMP said in a tweet.

As RCMP search on the ground, the Canadian Armed Forces has stepped in to assist with aerial searches. The difficult terrain has proved challenging for police, Cpl. Julie Courchaine explained in briefings through the week.

In an written update on Saturday evening, Manitoba RCMP said that no further information has been found through door-to-door canvassing in the town nor Fox Lake Cree Nation, but that the search remains ongoing.

McLeod and Schmegelsky are considered armed and dangerous and may not be together. They are described as 6’4” and about 170 pounds. If spotted, do not approach them, and call 911 immediately.

– With files from The Canadian Press


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Military called in to remove inert practice round found in Quesnel industrial park

A maintenance worker mowing the grass found the round, which turned out to no longer be explosive

Ranch Musings: No-till pasture rejuvenation and sivopasture trials

Columnist David Zirnhelt is hosting a field day Aug. 29 in Beaver Valley

Meet Tour de North cyclist Chris Fedoruk

Quesnel man is a community rider with this year’s Cops for Cancer team

Forestry Ink: Forest tenure changes are occurring throughout the world

Regular columnist Jim Hilton writes about forest tenure and ownership

Quesnel Safeway honours its volunteer shoppers

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Safeway’s volunteer shopper program

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

Most Read