Canadian police unable to 'substantiate' possible sighting of murder suspects in Manitoba
Police said Monday they have not “been able to substantiate” the tip of a possible Manitoba sighting of two young men suspected in the killings of three people in Canada – including the murders of an American woman and her Australian boyfriend.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) swarmed York Landing after saying they received a "credible" tip that two people matching the description of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were in the area, which is about 56 miles from Gillam, where a vehicle that had been used by the suspects was found burned last week.
“After a thorough & exhaustive search, #rcmpmb has not been able to substantiate the tip in York Landing,” RCMP tweeted Monday afternoon.
“RCMP resources will continue to be in the York Landing & Gillam areas.”
In another tweet Monday, police wrote that “officers searched the York Landing area throughout the night” and continued their efforts on Monday.
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RCMP said around 5 p.m. on Sunday they received the tip “that two males matching the description of the wanted suspects were seen in York Landing, Manitoba.” In response, the RCMP “immediately deployed multiple resources to the community,” which included police dogs, aircrafts and search and rescue teams.
“We are also partnering with the Canadian military who are using some of their specialized equipment,” RCMP Corporal Chris Manseau said Monday on “Shepard Smith Reporting.”
Chief Leroy Constant with York Factory First Nation posted a picture of one of the aircrafts that was used in the search in York Landing on his Facebook page Monday.
“The problem with tips like that, until we have them confirmed, we don’t want to deploy all resources to one area just in case that is wrong and then literally have all our eggs in the wrong basket. So, we still have people obviously working in Gillam, still doing door-to-door, still doing investigations there,” Manseau told Shepard Smith.
Manseau told Fox News later Monday, “All of our policing agencies across the country are aware of these suspects and they’ve passed along that type of information to all of our partners on the other side as well. So, there are posters up, there are fliers, they are watching the news as much as we are. Their faces are plastered just about everywhere, so the odds of them getting across the border are going to be very slim.”
Chris Grogan with U.S. Customs and Border Protection said, “We are aware [of the manhunt] and ready to assist at the northern border if Canadian authorities need help.”
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Grogan added that their cooperation was similar to their actions in the summer of 2015, when Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York and eluded police for nearly three weeks.
“The Canadians were prepared to assist us at the border and now we’re doing the same,” he said.
A source close to the investigation told Fox News on Saturday that McLeod and Schmegelsky may have escaped from the Manitoba town where they were last seen “with someone who is not police friendly.”
The source added that the two may have altered their appearances and offered cash to a driver to leave the area of Gillam, a town of approximately 1,200 people in the north of the province.
Police said they spent much of Sunday scouring cottages, cabins, waterways and along the rail line in Gillam for any signs of the suspects, searching on the ground and in the air.
Police confirmed last Friday that a resident of Cold Lake, Alberta, had helped the suspects get their Toyota Rav-4 unstuck from a local trail on July 21. Investigators said the suspects “continued on their way after a short, unremarkable interaction.”
McLeod and Schmegelsky were wanted in connection with the deaths of American Chynna Deese, 24, her Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler, 23, and Leonard Dyck, 64, of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Deese and Fowler's bodies turned up July 15 along the side of the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, British Columbia. Both had been shot to death.
McLeod and Schmegelsky have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Dyck, whose body was discovered five days after the remains of Deese and Fowler were found.
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A possible motive was unclear.
The men originally were considered missing but were named as suspects in the murders this past Tuesday.
Fox News' Greg Wilson, Jacqui Heinrich, Travis Fedschun and The Associated Press contributed to this report.