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.

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

Just Posted

Campbell River’s Teal Harle to compete at X Games this week

Freestyle skier set to take part in slopestyle and big air competitions

PHOTOS: Storm fall to Braves in shootout at the Brindy

Saanich won 4-3 Saturday night in Campbell River

Campbell River cadets show off their marksmanship

First annual air rifle shooting competition held

Poll suggests some don’t think Canada should send troops to stop genocide

The findings are being released just before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to give refund to B.C. buyer due to puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

UPDATED: Man dies in backcountry near Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort

The victim was found unresponsive in a tree well Friday

Cariboo Memorial Hospital back to normal after cold weather wreaks havoc

Burst pipes and water leaks cause three different incidents

Site of planned Jumbo Valley ski resort to be protected, managed by First Nations

Development rights permanently retired for site of proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere

Huawei exec’s extradition hearing begins in Canada

China’s foreign ministry complained the United States and Canada were violating Meng’s rights

Prince Harry: ‘Powerful media’ is why he’s stepping away

Prince Harry and Megan have stepped away from their royal commitments

Most Read