Ontario police issue alert as B.C. murder suspects head 'easterly direction'

Police in Ontario have issued a public safety alert amid concerns that two suspects in the murder of a young couple and an unknown man in British Columbia could be headed east.

The alert was issued on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after police confirmed that Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were being sought in connection with the fatal shooting of a tourist couple in northern B.C. last week, as well as the death of an unknown man who was found in a burned-out truck days later.

Authorities have said that McLeod and Schmegelsky were seen in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan on Sunday and on Wednesday RCMP in Manitoba said that they had reason to believe that they could be in the town of Gillam, which is about 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

John McDonald, the town’s deputy mayor told The Canadian Press that extra officers have been brought in to search for the suspects in a swampy area about 70 kilometres northwest of Gillam.

If the teens are there, that part of the province is known for thick bush and insects where it’s easy to get lost, said McDonald.

“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.

“I’m quite sure they’ll be more than happy to have someone find them.”

Manitoba RCMP have also confirmed to reporters that a burned vehicle found outside of Gillam is the same one driven by the suspects.

People in northern Manitoba are tense after RCMP announced two men in a national manhunt could be in the area.

“The suspects are to be considered dangerous,” Ontario Provincial Police said in the public safety alert. “If you see them, do not approach them and any person with information regarding this missing person investigation should immediately contact 911 or the Ontario Provincial Police at 1 (888) 310-1122.”

The vehicle that McLeod and Schmegelsky were last seen operating has been described as a grey 2011 Toyota Rav 4.

The mysterious deaths of the couple in their early 20s in a remote part of Northern B.C. has garnered interest worldwide for its international connections and unexpected twists, which include another victim and a pair of missing teens turned suspects. Here’s a timeline of what’s known so far in the deaths of Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler.

Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese

Monday, July 15, 7:19 a.m.

Front line officers with the Northern Rockies RCMP receive word that two bodies were found about 20 kilometres south of Liard Hot Springs on Alaska Highway, Hwy. 97.

When mounties arrive at the scene, they find the victims and a blue 1986 Chevrolet minivan with Alberta plates.

An investigation is launched after official determine that the deaths appear to be suspicious.

Thursday, July 18

The victims are identified as a couple: 24-year-old Chynna Noelle Deese of North Carolina and 23-year-old Lucas Robertson Fowler of Sydney, Australia.

Friday, July 19

Police appeal for witnesses and anyone who might have dashcam footage from the Alaska Highway between Sunday, July 14, at 4 p.m. and Monday, July 15, at 8 a.m.

Fowler’s family is reported to be travelling to Canada, along with Australian police. It is revealed that Fowler’s father works for the New South Wales Police Force as a senior officer.

The FBI contacts Deese’s family in North Carolina.

Dease Lake Frontline RCMP respond to reports that an empty red and grey Dodge pickup truck with a camper is on fire south of the Stikine River Bridge on Highway 37, about 500 km from where Deese and Fowler were found.

The remains of a man in his 50s or 60s are found two kilometres from the vehicle fire, though officials can’t confirm if the two incidents are related.

Sunday, July 21

RCMP report that the burning pickup truck was being driven by Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni.

The young men are reported missing.

They were believed to be on their way to Whitehorse to look for work but had not been in contact with family for several days.

The last time the pair were spotted, they were headed south from the Super A general store in Dease Lake around 3:15 p.m. on July 18.

It’s confirmed that the body found near the scorched pickup truck was not that of McLeod or Schmegelsky, but it’s unclear how the man is connected to the vehicle or the missing teens.

Monday, July 22

RCMP confirm that Deese and Fowler died of gunshot wounds.

The minivan in which the bodies were found, belonged to Fowler, who was using it with Deese to explore the northern B.C. region.

A sketch is released of a person of interest, who was seen talking to Fowler the night of July 14.

A sketch of a man who the Royal Canadian Mounted Police say interacted with Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese is displayed during a news conference, in Surrey, British Columbia, on Monday July 22, 2019. Lucas, a 23-year-old Australian who, along with his girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, of Charlotte, N.C., were found dead in Northern British Columbia last week. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

Officials say the man is possibly connected to an older-model Jeep Cherokee with a black stripe on the hood and a black light/bull bar with small covered lights.

Police say they want to speak with the man in hopes of learning more about the timeline of Fowler and Deese’s activities.

Video surveillance footage is released of Deese and Fowler at a gas station on July 13. Police hope it will help more people who may have information about the couple to come forward.

A sketch is released of a man who was found dead near the vehicle of two missing teens. Investigators ask anyone who recognizes him to contact them.

Tuesday, July 23

Schmegelsky and McLeod, once considered missing persons, are now official suspects in the deaths of Deese and Fowler.

The teens are also possibly linked to the death of a man who was found near their torched pickup truck.

They are believed to now be driving a grey 2011 Toyota RAV 4.

While the pair were last seen in northern Saskatchewan, Manitoba RCMP alerted the public late Tuesday afternoon that the pair may be in the northern Manitoba town of Gillam.

The public is urged not to approach the teens and to call authorities immediately.

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