Possible sighting of Canada murder suspects reported in Manitoba as police swarm area
Officers were swarming a community in the Canadian province of Manitoba on Sunday after a possible sighting of the two teens suspected of at least three murders – including the killings of an American woman and her Australian boyfriend, police said.
Authorities told residents in the area to stay inside an make sure their doors are locked at home.
Chief Leroy Constant with York Factory First Nation said Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) would be conducting a search for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky “in our community of York Landing” after a “possible sighting” around a landfill on Sunday night.
About two-and-a-half hours later he added, “Police have deployed multiple resources in the area of York Landing” in an attempt to apprehend the suspects.
Constant said the suspects had not been caught and that RCMP would stay in the area with helicopters, police dogs and emergency response teams “until further notice.”
He said “heavily armored officers” were “conducting ground searches with dogs,” but helicopters and drones were limited because of heavy winds.
“Everyone please remain indoors with your doors locked. And all vehicles should be parked,” Constant advised.
RCMP confirmed its presence in the area tweeting on Sunday evening that multiple police resources were being sent to York Landing “to investigate a tip that the two suspects are possibly in, or near, the community.”
“A heavy police presence can be expected in the area,” the tweet continued.
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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. Gillam is about a four-hour drive from York Landing.
Earlier Sunday, Royal Canadian Mounted Police tweeted that officers had spent the day searching cottages, cabins, waterways, and along the rail line in Gillam for any signs of the suspects. They added that the search of remote areas was being conducted both on the ground and in the air.
The tweet went on to say, “The terrain is immense & varied w/lakes, ponds, muskeg etc.”
Police have been asking “anyone who may have inadvertently provided assistance to the suspects to come forward and contact police.”
On Friday, police confirmed 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, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, 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.
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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.
A possible motive was unclear.
The teens originally were considered missing but were named as suspects in the murders this past Tuesday. On Thursday, the RCMP said the suspects had been spotted in the area of Gillam, over 2,000 miles from where the three bodies were found.
The RCMP said Saturday that officers had started canvassing “every home and building in the Gilliam area.” Assets from the Canadian Armed Forces arrived in Gillam early Saturday to assist with the aerial search, officials added.
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Investigators visited more than 250 homes in the Gilliam area, police said on Sunday.
Fox News’ Cristina Corbin, Jacqui Heinrich, Bradford Betz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.