Canada murder suspect's father apologizes as sister of slain American chides him for failing to take 'responsibility'
The father of one of the two fugitives suspected of killing three people across Canada, triggering a high-profile manhunt in the country's unforgiving wilderness, apologized Sunday to the families affected by his son's alleged acts.
The father's overture came as the sister of the slain American among the trio of fatalities blasted him for not taking enough responsibility.
Alan Schmegelsky, the father of 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky, told Australia's "60 Minutes" in an interview that aired Sunday he was "so sorry for what's happened," adding the news his son is probably dead "hurts a lot."
“He was my only child. I never get to hug him again. I never get to tease him again. I never get to spend a minute with him again," he said. "A lot of parents know how I feel right now."
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On Wednesday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced that two bodies believed to be 19-year-old Kam McLeod and Schmegelsky were found in dense brush in northern Manitoba. RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said an autopsy will be conducted to confirm the identities and causes of death.
While officials have not disclosed what led them to the bodies, a tour guide said last week he thought he helped police when he spotted a blue sleeping bag that then triggered a search in the area.
The elder Schmegelsky, who detailed his family's troubled history in a self-published book, said until the results of the autopsies are confirmed he is still unable to believe his son was responsible for the killings.
“I’m not going to say my son is a murderer until I get some facts,” he told the Australian program. “You want me to sit here and tell you that my son positively murdered your co-citizen? Because I won’t, because I can’t. I can’t do it.”
McLeod and Schmegelsky were charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, a University of British Columbia lecturer whose body was found July 19 along a highway in British Columbia. The pair were also suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina, whose bodies were found July 15 along the Alaska Highway about 300 miles from where Dyck was killed.
After the elder Schmegelsky’s comment's on "60 Minutes," Deese's sister Kennedy took to Facebook to accuse him of failing to take responsibility for his son.
"We are not cut from the same cloth, as you play the victim and don’t acknowledge your hand in your child’s upbringing and ultimate demise. Your sorrow is for yourself," she wrote. "You cannot relate to us, as we had no doings in the cause of your pain, when you’ve played a part in the cause of our pain."
She also wrote that the "appropriate action when mistakes are made is taking responsibility."
"The proper public response would have been a genuine apology," Kennedy Deese said. "But we still forgive you and have mercy."
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She went on to describe her sister as a "once in a lifetime soul" who earned a degree in psychology and who "volunteered her time with the so-called 'outcasts'" and "would have befriended her murderers if given the opportunity."
A manhunt for the pair spread across three provinces and included the Canadian military. The suspects had not been seen since a victim's burned-out car -- which the two fugitives reportedly had been driving -- was found July 22.
The bodies were found near Gillam, Manitoba — more than 2,000 miles from northern British Columbia. The separate discoveries of three bodies and burning cars shook rural northern British Columbia and Manitoba.
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"This is like traveling from London to Moscow coupled with the fact that they were traveling in areas that are not highly populated," said British Columbia RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett.
On Tuesday, the RCMP said they were investigating all possibilities, including the chance that the suspects might have drowned.
Fox News' Cristina Corbin and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.