Suspects in B.C. killings died from self-in­flicted gun­shot wounds, au­top­sies re­veal

The Globe and Mail (Ottawa/Quebec Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - IAN BAI­LEY

The two men sought in the killings of three peo­ple in Bri­tish Columbia died from what ap­pears to be self-in­flicted gun­shot wounds, days be­fore their bod­ies were found in the woods of north­ern Man­i­toba, the RCMP said Mon­day af­ter au­top­sies of the pair were con­cluded.

Po­lice said two firearms were found with the re­mains of Bryer Sch­megel­sky and Kam McLeod and that foren­sic analysis is un­der way to de­ter­mine whether th­ese weapons were con­nected to the homi­cides that prompted the man­hunt across five prov­inces that be­gan on July 23.

In a state­ment, the RCMP said the ex­act time­line around their deaths is cur­rently un­clear.

“How­ever, there are strong in­di­ca­tions that they had been alive for a few days since last seen in July, and dur­ing the ex­ten­sive search ef­forts,” the state­ment said.

Mr. McLeod, 19, and Mr. Sch­megel­sky, 18, res­i­dents of Port Al­berni, B.C., were charged in the death of Univer­sity of B.C. lec­turer Leonard Dyck, 64. No cause of death was re­leased. They were sub­se­quently named as suspects in the shooting deaths of Amer­i­can Chynna Deese, 24, and her 23-year-old Aus­tralian boyfriend Lu­cas Fowler. Po­lice ex­pected the men to be charged in the deaths of the lat­ter two but were await­ing foren­sic ev­i­dence. All three vic­tims were found in North­ern B.C. in mid-July.

For a time, the two men were con­sid­ered miss­ing af­ter trav­el­ling north to look for work.

Mr. Dyck’s burned-out ve­hi­cle was found near the Fox Lake Cree Na­tion, a com­mu­nity lo­cated more than 700 kilo­me­tres north of Winnipeg. Po­lice launched a ma­jor search fo­cused on the Fox Lake area and the nearby com­mu­nity of Gil­lam.

Last Wed­nes­day, in­ves­ti­ga­tors lo­cated the bod­ies of the two men in a densely forested area near Fox Lake and about one kilometre from where po­lice searchers had lo­cated sev­eral items di­rectly linked to the two.

A pro­fes­sional tracker was used to help in the RCMP search and was with the of­fi­cers when the bod­ies were found in the heavy brush near the shore­line of the Nel­son River. The area be­came the fo­cus of the search af­ter the dis­cov­ery of a dam­aged row­boat and items that be­longed to the two suspects. Po­lice don’t know if the pair used the boat.

Ms. Deese’s mother said Mon­day that the lat­est de­vel­op­ments do not bring her fam­ily any peace. In re­spond­ing to a Globe and Mail re­quest for an in­ter­view, she pointed to a Face­book post­ing.

“There is no clo­sure, but an open wound greater than hu­manly pos­si­ble to heal or com­pre­hend,” Sheila Deese wrote on the so­cial-me­dia site.

“I have had a hard time ref­er­enc­ing ‘the boys’ and say­ing their names. How do two peo­ple have the same agenda? The same de­struc­tive mind?”

Ms. Deese said her fam­ily and friends were di­vided on whether find­ing the pair alive and com­mit­ting them to trial would have been a bet­ter out­come.

“I be­lieved if they looked my beau­ti­ful girl in the face and ended her life, why would look­ing in my eyes have any im­pact or foster re­morse?”

In an in­ter­view Mon­day, the direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the RCMP in B.C. would not pro­vide fur­ther de­tails about the sui­cides, in­clud­ing the kind of firearms lo­cated with the two suspects.

But Dawn Roberts said in­ves­ti­ga­tors are try­ing to “tighten” the time­line around events.

She said the RCMP is com­mit­ted to re­leas­ing more de­tails about what po­lice be­lieved hap­pened within a few weeks.

“We want to pro­vide the last, best pic­ture of what is known and we’re com­mit­ted to do­ing that,” she said.

There are many unan­swered ques­tions as­so­ci­ated with the case, in­clud­ing mo­tives, and how the two men came into con­tact with the vic­tims in North­ern B.C.

Po­lice, said Ms. Roberts, are also com­mit­ted to draw­ing lessons from the case, though no for­mal re­view is planned.

“We’re con­stantly as­sess­ing and re­view­ing cases as they take place,” she said. “If there is any­thing that can be learned, we are ready to learn from it.”

Ms. Roberts said the po­lice had done their best to find the men in a search that in­volved of­fi­cers, po­lice dogs and air­craft from the Royal Cana­dian Air Force.

“This was dense, thick ter­rain − not easy to see through,” she said. “I am mindful that th­ese in­di­vid­u­als chose not to be found. They were helped by the ter­rain they were in.”

MELISSA TAIT/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

RCMP per­son­nel load the re­mains of one of the suspects in three B.C. homi­cides onto a wait­ing plane at the Gil­lam, Man., air­port on Wed­nes­day. The search for the two men in­volved of­fi­cers, po­lice dogs, RCMP air­craft and a pro­fes­sional tracker.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.