Officers look through a remote lake area alongside a landed helicopter in the Gillam, Man., area in July 28, 2019, police image published to social media. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police photo)

Military pulls back, RCMP ‘scales down’ manhunt for B.C. murder suspects

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky have been on the run from police for more than two weeks

The Canadian military has pulled out from the manhunt in northern Manitoba, as RCMP “scale down” the search for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky – two Port Alberni men wanted in three homicides in northern B.C.

RCMP said Wednesday that the two aircrafts supplied by the Canadian Forces are no longer needed. The C-130H Hercules and CP-140 Aurora were brought into assist with infrared aerial searches as investigators faced challenging terrain, swampy areas and thick bushes.

At a press conference Wednesday, Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said they searched 1,000 sq. km. in northern Manitoba, as well as 500 homes.

“We conducted exhaustive searches,” MacLatchy.

“Over 250 tips were received and followed up on.”

But despite this, there have been no sightings since RCMP found the stolen vehicle the two suspects torched near Gillam Monday.

“To be clear, we are not ending this search,” MacLatchy.

Resources will stay in the area and more will be deployed as needed, she added.

“I know this news is not what the families of the victims and the people of northern Manitoba wanted to hear,” MacLatchy acknowledged.

“We would really like to find these suspects [and] we’ve pulled out all the stop on this thing… I have no regrets.”

READ MORE: Investigators focus hunt for suspected B.C. killers back to Gillam, Man.

The ongoing search, which has piqued the nation’s interest, entered into its ninth day Wednesday. McLeod and Schmegelsky have been charged in the second-degree murder of Leonard Dyck, of Vancouver, and are wanted in connection to the shooting deaths of Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler.

On Tuesday, investigators announced they would be withdrawing from York Landing, Man., after being unable to substantiate a tip that the wanted fugitives were spotted in the area. This means their last known whereabouts were in Gillam, Man., on July 22.

“A search of the York Landing area, which included the use of helicopters, drones, military resources, and door to door canvasses, has been completed,” Mounties said.

“The RCMP thanks the community for their patience and understanding, and continues to remind residents to remain vigilant.”

– With files from Katya Slepian


@ashwadhwani
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