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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

FOREST INK: Old growth forests under new management

On April 30, 2020, they submitted 14 recommendations to the Province in their report

No reported COVID-19 transmission in B.C.’s tree planting spring/summer effort

With the fall season winding up mid-October, it is hoped that trend will continue

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

World-class carver prefers the simple life

His work can be found in galleries around the world, but Kevin Peters prefers the quiet life.

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read