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)

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.

Manitoba Manhunt

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

Just Posted

‘Homelessness’ means many things to people with no permanent place to sleep. For some, the challenge to find safe shelter is greater than for others. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni mother battles to find housing for her son

Mary Elles fears her son will die on the street before he will find safe housing

Andy Richards of Dog Mountain Brewing demonstrates their new canning machine. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
BIZ BEAT: Local businesses need support during holidays

Bosley’s helping pets out during holiday season

Captain Michael Ramsay of the Salvation Army is ready for the annual Christmas Kettle Campaign in the Alberni Valley. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
COVID-19 can’t stop Salvation Army’s kettle campaign

Innovation drives annual fundraising campaign for 2020

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Alberni man gets four years for multiple sex assault charges

Colin Robert Hall was found guilty in the Port Alberni Law Courts

John Edmondson, left, and Colin Minions from the Bread of Life are two of the team working to reopen the Third Avenue facility as a warming centre. Nov. 20, 2020 (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni’s Bread of Life to open as warming centre

Centre will offer a place for those with no other place to go to get out of cold weather

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

The Trenton Golden Hawks are changing their name and uniform for one game on Nov. 27 as they become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game to honour Capt. Jennifer Casey. Twitter photo
Hockey team honouring fallen Snowbird with Island connection

The Trenton Golden Hawks will become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Most Read