Mur­der sus­pects elude po­lice

The Prince George Citizen - - Local -

Moun­ties are ask­ing any­one who may have un­wit­tingly helped two teenage homi­cide sus­pects give the slip to po­lice in a north­ern Man­i­toba area to come for­ward.

Cpl. Julie Cour­chaine says po­lice aren’t say­ing that’s what hap­pened, but they aren’t rul­ing out any pos­si­bil­i­ties.

“It is pos­si­ble that some­one may not have been aware of who they were pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance to, and may now be hes­i­tant to come for­ward,” she said at an RCMP up­date in Win­nipeg on Fri­day.

“I want to re­it­er­ate the im­por­tance of con­tact­ing po­lice im­me­di­ately.”

Cour­chaine said Bryer Sch­megel­sky, 18, and his 19-yearold friend Kam McLeod may have changed their ap­pear­ance as a way to evade an in­tense manhunt that in­cludes of­fi­cers from sev­eral ju­ris­dic­tions search­ing on foot, with dogs and us­ing drones.

Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale said in a tweet Fri­day evening that the military has also been called in to give the RCMP air sup­port dur­ing their hunt for the teens.

Cour­chaine urged the pub­lic across the coun­try to keep a care­ful watch out for the pair, who were last seen in north­ern Man­i­toba and wanted in the deaths of three people in north­ern Bri­tish Columbia.

“It is critical that all Canadians re­main vig­i­lant for Kam McLeod and Bryer Sch­megel­sky,” she said. “If they are spot­ted, do not ap­proach. Call 911 or your lo­cal po­lice im­me­di­ately.”

Cour­chaine stressed that there have been no con­firmed sight­ings since one Mon­day in the Gil­lam area – an iso­lated region of bog and bush with one access road – so the search for the two was still fo­cused there.

Sch­megel­sky and McLeod are charged with sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in the death of Leonard Dyck, a botany pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia, and are sus­pects in the fa­tal shoot­ings of Aus­tralian Lucas Fowler and his American girl­friend Chynna Deese.

A burned-out RAV4 the teens from Port Al­berni were trav­el­ling in was found near Gil­lam this week and po­lice have said there have been no re­ports of stolen ve­hi­cles since.

Cour­chaine said po­lice were plan­ning to go door to door in Gil­lam and on the Fox Lake First Nation over the next three days look­ing for leads.

“We’re go­ing to... try and gen­er­ate some tips pos­si­bly,” she said. “Maybe there’s some­thing that seemed in­signif­i­cant to them and maybe it’s some­thing that will re­ally help us in our in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Po­lice were also re­quest­ing that people not post un­con­firmed ma­te­rial about the search or the sus­pects on social media.

“I want to stress the im­por­tance of not cre­at­ing and shar­ing on­line ru­mours,” Cour­chaine said. “The spread­ing of false in­for­ma­tion in com­mu­ni­ties across Man­i­toba has cre­ated fear and panic.”

She said po­lice had con­firmed that a young man with an un­canny re­sem­blance to McLeod was not who they were look­ing for. A photo of the man hold­ing a news­pa­per pic­ture of McLeod next to his face ap­peared on Twit­ter Thurs­day.

Later Fri­day, RCMP in Cold Lake, Alta., con­firmed a sight­ing of the pair early Sun­day morn­ing.

“At ap­prox­i­mately 9:30 a.m., a north end res­i­dent of Cold Lake ob­served a ve­hi­cle stuck on a trail be­hind their res­i­dence,” po­lice said in a news re­lease. “Two younger males were ob­served out­side of a Toy­ota RAV4. The res­i­dent as­sisted the pair in get­ting un­stuck and they con­tin­ued on their way after a short, un­re­mark­able in­ter­ac­tion.”

They said the man re­al­ized it was Sch­megel­sky and McLeod when he was on social media later that night.

RCMP also re­leased some sur­veil­lance footage from Meadow Lake, Sask., show­ing Sch­megel­sky in a T-shirt and McLeod in army fa­tigues walk­ing around a store later Sun­day in the hopes it would gen­er­ate more tips from the pub­lic.

A sim­i­lar in­tense manhunt hap­pened in the Prairies in July 2006, when it took almost two weeks for Moun­tie killer Cur­tis Da­ge­nais to be ar­rested.

About 250 of­fi­cers scoured an area around Spir­it­wood, Sask., for any sign of Da­ge­nais after he shot RCMP con­sta­bles Robin Cameron and Marc Bourdages dur­ing a ru­ral car chase. He re­mained on the loose un­til he was found by a cou­ple hiding in their farm­yard.

They talked to him for sev­eral hours in their kitchen and, in the end, Da­ge­nais walked into the Spir­it­wood RCMP de­tach­ment and turned him­self in.

He had been hiding well out­side the RCMP search perime­ter.

CP PHOTO

RCMP Cpl. Julie Cour­chaine speaks to re­porters Fri­day in Win­nipeg about the on­go­ing RCMP search in Gil­lam, Man., for B.C. mur­der sus­pects Bryer Sch­megel­sky and Kam McLeod.

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