Speaking in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy confirmed that the RCMP search for the BC murder suspects in Manitoba would be ‘scaling down’ their search operations. The two Port Alberni fugitives, Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod are wanted by police in connection with three murders in B.C.
Although MacLatchy assured the public that the RCMP would not be giving up their search efforts altogether, she did note that the multiple police resources in Gillam would be redistributed elsewhere, and staff would be phased out from the Northern Manitoba town over the next few days. The reason for the scale-back, MacLatchy said, is due to extensive searches and investigations in the area turning up 'nothing'.
As of Wednesday, the search for missing teenagers Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod entered its ninth day. Police believe the pair are directly involved with the murders of Australian backpacker Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese. The young men are also charged with the second-degree murder of university lecturer Leonard Dyck. Since being wanted by police, the duo has managed to successfully evade capture, and there has not been a confirmed sighting of the pair in almost ten days.
During the news conference on Wednesday afternoon, the RCMP announced that the military would also be withdrawing from the search operations in Manitoba, and other police resources in the area are also to be scaled down. MacLatchy made sure to note that the suspects had not been seen in over a week, leading police to recognize that it is possible the pair may no longer be in the area at all.
Speaking on Wednesday morning, RCMP Inspector Kevin Lewis told reporters, "At this point in time … we want to again be focused with our own resources and determine where we should go from here."
@CBCNews RCMP scaling down search for Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky in Manitoba. Says will begin phasing out staff… https://t.co/x1gQqAGgP5— CBC News Alerts (@CBC News Alerts) 1564596832.0
Despite the confirmation that resources will be pulled back, Jane MacLatchy made it clear, “It is not over, not by any means." Ground and air searches will continue in and around Gillam, Manitoba, and there is expected to be around 40 police officers that will remain active in the area.
Police are still understood to be treating the situation as though the suspects are in the area, and will continue to search for bodies in the event they are expected to be dead.
RCMP say if 2 fugitives missing in Manitoba are found alive, they will be treated in hospital, remanded in Thompson… https://t.co/zo0y5Y0PxL— CBC News Alerts (@CBC News Alerts) 1564590420.0
On Wednesday RCMP Manitoba confirmed that if the pair were found alive, they would be taken to a hospital for any necessary treatment and then remanded into police custody, and returned to B.C.