Hunt for Canada fugitives takes another twist as police find ‘items’ linked to two teens


The hunt for the teenage fugitives accused of killing a young couple has seen another twist as police find several items near a riverbank linked to the pair.

Officers searching for Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, have revealed items were found along the shoreline of the Nelson River in Manitoba, 9km from where they left a burnt-out vehicle on July 22.

The teenagers are suspected of murdering Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese.

Investigators would not disclose what the items were but say they were found on August 2. 

The discovery of the items came the same day police found a damaged aluminium boat near the river near Gillam, Manitoba.

Police divers spent Sunday searching the frigid waters of the Nelson River for the bodies of two teenage fugitives suspected of shooting dead Mr Fowler and Miss Deese.

However, the underwater recovery team did not find additional items, police said. 

The boat was found about 70km north of Gillam and about 13km from where police believe the teens set light to the grey Toyota RAV4 they were driving two weeks ago. 

The search comes after police blocked off roads at Sundance in Manitoba. 

Sundance was built in 1975 to house the workers of the Limestone Dam project and their families, and consisted of mostly portable buildings, trailers, with a few small stores and a primary school.

The community was closed in September 1992, and satellite imagery shows empty lots surrounded by roads. 

Sundance is considered part of the town of Gillam, where the teens were last seen, and is roughly 3,000km from where the bodies of Miss Deese and Mr Fowler were found. 

The roadblock has now been taken down, however, officers will remain in the Gillam, area. 

The three-week nationwide hunt for Schmegelsky and McLeod that began in the western Canadian province of British Columbia and has spanned more than 5000km east over three other provinces. 

The move to Sundance comes as the family of Miss Deese slam Canadian police for failing to find the teens, and question whether they were even involved in the tragic deaths of the young couple. 

‘It’s taking so long, our family is frustrated the police have not made more progress and we don’t know if it’s even the teenagers who killed my sister and Lucas,’ Miss Deese’s brother Stetson told The Daily Telegraph.

‘Everyone wants to catch them but we don’t even know if they did it. We’re in the dark as much as the public about what happened to Chynna and Lucas.’

Survival experts predict the teenagers would struggle to stay alive if they attempted to hide in the swampy, bug-infested wilderness around Gillam without shelter and equipment.

Mr Fowler, 23, the son of a high-ranking NSW police officer, and his girlfriend Miss Deese, 24, were found shot dead in a ditch on the side of a BC highway on July 15.

The body of botanist Leonard Dyck was discovered four days later on another BC highway and 2km away from an abandoned and burning pick-up truck Schmegelsky and McLeod had been driving.

Schmegelsky and McLeod drove a grey Toyota RAV4 3000km east to Gillam before setting it alight in bushland.

The RCMP have not announced a single confirmed sighting of the duo since.

Schmegelsky and McLeod are the only suspects in the bloody highway murders. 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Royal Canadian Air Force, using teams on the ground and planes in the air with infrared cameras and imaging radar, unsuccessfully searched 11,000 square kilometres around the town of Gillam and surrounding wilderness before scaling back the hunt. 

The Ontario Provincial Police announced on Friday it had set up an investigative team to follow up on potential sightings of Schmegelsky and McLeod in their province. 

OPP Criminal Investigation Branch Detective Inspector Matt Watson will lead the new investigative team. 

The OPP received more than 30 tips in less than eight hours on Thursday. 

‘We ask anyone who believes they have observed these two suspects to report it to police immediately,’ Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Carolle Dionne said.

If the fugitives are in Ontario they have eluded authorities while travelling more than 5000km. That’s 1000km further than the distance between Sydney and Perth.

One unconfirmed sighting of the duo in recent days was of ‘a suspicious’ white vehicle driving through a construction zone on a highway in the small community of Kapuskasing, Ontario  

The RCMP and OPP have urged members of the public to call them immediately to report a possible sighting instead of posting information on social media.

If the suspects are spotted, authorities urged the public to take note of every detail.

‘Sharing as much information as possible on your observation is important such as type of vehicle, vehicle plate, description of clothing, direction of travel,’ Sgt Dionne said.

‘But most importantly, do not approach them as they are considered to be dangerous.’ 


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