(NEW YORK) — The two missing teen suspects wanted in connection to the murders of a young couple from the U.S. and Australia have now been charged with the murder of a man whose body was found near the suspects’ burning car, Canadian authorities said.
The car, found in the Gillam area of Manitoba, Canada, was confirmed as belonging to the two missing teen suspects, Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, authorities announced Wednesday afternoon.
“Based on this information, we have sent a number of resources to the Gillam area,” said Cpl. Julie Courchaine, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, during a Wednesday news conference. “This is a complex, ongoing investigation involving multiple jurisdictions. We are engaged with police forces across Canada. We are investigating all tips and are continuing to ask for the public’s assistance. We are also reminding everyone that these suspects should not be approached and if you do see them, to call 911 or your local police immediately.”
Later on Wednesday, officials announced the suspects had been charged with second-degree murder in the death of a man whose body was found approximately 1.2 miles from the car.
“As a result of the charges, Canada-wide warrants have been issued for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky. RCMP investigators across the country continue to share information with other law enforcement agencies as the suspects remain at large,” police said.
The body was identified as Leonard Dyck from Vancouver, British Columbia, according to a news release.
Chief Walter Spence, of Fox Lake Cree Nation, which is northeast of Gillam, said in a statement Tuesday that a burned and discarded car had been found nearby on that day, according to CTV News. Before Wednesday’s news conference, authorities had tweeted that they had reason to believe the pair were in the Gillam area but would not confirm that the car was linked to them.
McLeod and Schmegelsky nearly crossed Canada in the last two weeks, according to authorities, starting out from western British Columbia.
They allegedly killed Chynna Deese, 24, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and her boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, 23, who is from Australia, near the Liard Hot Springs in British Columbia. Their bodies were found on July 15.
Days later, the duo torched their camper before popping up in Northern Saskatchewan. Then, witnesses placed the duo overnight in Manitoba, more than 2,000 miles from where Deese and Fowler were found dead, police said.
Dyck’s body was found on July 19. Police released his photo in the hopes someone will come forward with info or may have spoken to him.
“We are truly heart broken by the sudden and tragic loss of Len. He was a loving husband and father. His death has created unthinkable grief and we are struggling to understand what has happened,” Dyck’s family said in a statement released by police. “While we understand there will be interest in knowing more about him and the impact he had during his life, we are asking for the public and the media to please respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
Schmegelsky’s father, Alan Schmegelsky, told the Times Colonist that his son was a “good kid.”
“I don’t know what to think anymore,” Alan Schmegelsky said. “I’m in disbelief. I didn’t see any signs of violence.”
He said that his son was interested in air-soft pellet guns but that he did not believe his son ever shot a real gun, according to the Times Colonist. He said Bryer Schmegelsky would play war games in the woods with friends.
“That was their outdoor video game. You know, a real-life video game,” he said.
In a statement to ABC News, McLeod’s father, Keith McLeod, said in a statement: “To the people who truly care; I am sitting at home worrying about my son. Relentless media [are] hounding us for answers we don’t have. My family and I do know that Kam is a kind, considerate and caring young man who has always been concerned about other people’s feelings. As we are trapped in our homes due to media people, we try to wrap her head around what is happening. We hope that Kam will come home to us safely so we can all get to the bottom of this story.”
“I am staying close to the phone because I don’t want to miss a call if it is word about Kam,” he said.
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