In a press conference at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy confirmed that Canadians can finally breathe a sigh of relief. She announced that the bodies of wanted fugitives Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19 had been found. According to a statement from MacLatchy, their bodies were discovered at around 10 AM on Wednesday morning.
During the press conference, MacLatchy also noted, "there's a certain amount of relief that we were able to locate these people," adding that this latest finding will "give people an opportunity to exhale."
This is especially good news for the people in Gillam and York Landing, the small towns in Manitoba where residents had been told to lock their doors and remain vigilant amid fears that the murder suspects may be nearby. The towns have populations of around 1200 and 400 respectively and over the past couple weeks had been flooded with RCMP and Canadian Forces as the hunt for the fugitives went on.
Even in Ontario, some residents were concerned after a rumoured sighting of the pair in Kapuskasing. Fortunately, all those rumours have now been put to rest.
This is also a relief for the RCMP and other officials involved in the search. Over the past two weeks, the pair have been the focus of a nationwide manhunt but that has finally come to an end. The search has involved multiple police forces, specialized search teams, k9 units, drones, helicopters and even the Canadian military.
Wednesday's announcement comes just days after items believed to belong to the men were found on August 2, near the shoreline of the Nelson River. Following this discovery, Manitoba police were able to narrow down the search for the fugitives, which led them to discover the bodies of two males, believed to be the missing pair.
Manitoba RCMP located two male bodies in dense bush near Gillam, the area where the original search was focused. According to MacLatchy, police are 'confident' the bodies belong to Schmegelsky and McLeod, but autopsies will be carried out as soon as possible to officially confirm the identities of the bodies and determine their cause of death.
Schmegelsky and McLeod had been evading police for two weeks, after originally being listed as ‘missing people,’ the pair went on to become suspects in three murders, including that of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese. The duo was also charged with the second-degree murder of Vancouver man Leonard Dyck.