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Canadian teen murder suspects whose bodies were found last week shot themselves

2019-08-13

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were the subject of a manhunt all across Canada. (Darryl Dyck / AP)

The two Canadian teen murder suspects whose bodies were found in the Manitoba brush last week died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, autopsy results showed.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, had been dead for some time when they were found last Wednesday in remote terrain near Gillam, Manitoba, authorities said Monday. They were found more than 1,400 miles northeast of British Columbia, where they had allegedly killed three people, including an American woman, in July.

The Manitoba Medical Examiner said it had completed the autopsies of the two bodies “and confirmed that the two deceased men located in Manitoba on August 7, 2019 were Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement. “Their next of kin have been notified and they have been offered support.”

Police also confirmed that the two died in “what appears to be suicides by gunfire,” the statement said.

“While both individuals were deceased for a number of days before they were found, the exact time and date of their deaths are not known,” the RCMP said. “However, there are strong indications that they had been alive for a few days since last seen in July and during the extensive search efforts in the Gillam area.”

Police were analyzing two firearms that had been near the young men’s bodies to determine whether they were the weapons used in the slaying of Chynna Deese, 24, of North Carolina, and her Australian boyfriend, 23-year-old Lucas Fowler, both found shot to death on July 15 in British Columbia.

The two had been on the run since they were first suspected of murdering the young couple, as well as botanist and University of British Columbia lecturer Leonard Dyck, 64. McLeod and Schmegelsky had been charged with second-degree murder in his death and named as suspects in the homicides of Deese and Fowler, as The Star reported.

The search area, from British Columbia, across the Prairies and into remote Manitoba, was “comparable to the distance between London and Moscow,” officials told Global News.

Mounties “worked 24-7, logging more than 4,500 investigation hours during this search for the suspects,” RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki told Global News last week after the pair were found.

In Canada, several communities were able to breathe easier once the suspects’ bodies were found after a weeks-long manhunt.

“We don’t have to worry about them coming out of the bush and possibly hurting one of our community members,” said Dwayne Forman, the mayor of Gillam, which was the epicenter of the search, to The Globe and Mail. “We don’t have to worry about that anymore. That fear, that element is gone.”

Some closure was afforded the victims’ families as well.

“We want to thank the Canadian authorities and their diligence in the pursuit of justice to bring these individuals to account,” Deese’s family said in a statement, according to The News and Observer.