Canadian police launch manhunt for teens on 'suicide mission' and wanted in 3 deaths

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Two armed teens, including one whose father says is on a “suicide mission,” were the targets of a nationwide manhunt Thursday in Canada and have been charged with murder in the death of a motorist along a highway in British Columbia.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, whose body was found last Friday near the suspects’ burned-out camper.

“We continue to ask the public to remain vigilant for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky and consider them to be armed and dangerous,” the British Columbia Royal Canadian Mounted police said. “The two may be using a different vehicle, on foot or even traveling separately.”

The two lifelong friends are also suspects in the grisly slaying four days earlier of two tourists along the Alaska Highway, also in British Columbia.

The two have been spotted on surveillance cameras in a grocery store in northern Saskatchewan, CTV reported.

Canadian police have set up roadblocks around the remote Manitoba town of Gillam, near where a car driven by the two teens was found on fire Monday.

There is only one road in and out of the Gillam, a town of about 1,000 people. Mayor Dwayne Forman described the region as “all swamp, heavy trees” and sometimes visited by polar bears, the CBC reported.

The CBC also quoted one area environmental adviser as saying anyone hiding in the forests would need bug spray and would have to depend on local berries to survive but avoid mushrooms, which are toxic. In addition, the terrain is difficult to navigate because of the danger of sinking in the soft peat moss.

Schmegelsky’s father,  Alan, told the Canadian Press on Wednesday that he fears his son, who had a troubled upbringing, is on a “suicide mission.”

“He wants his hurt to end,” he said. “They’re going to go out in a blaze of glory. Trust me on this. That’s what they’re going to do.”

Schmegelsky said his son’s main influences were video games and YouTube.

“A normal child doesn’t travel across the country killing people,” he said. “A child in some very serious pain does.”

In a statement Wednesday, Kam McLeod’s father, Keith, described his son as “a kind, considerate and caring young man” who has “always been concerned about other people’s feelings,” the Toronto Star reported.

The pair, who grew up in Port Alberni in British Columbia, purportedly left on a trip to look for work in Whitehorse in the Yukon. They were at first treated as missing persons after not checking in with relatives for several days.

They became suspects after the discovery last week of the bodies of Chynna Deese, a 24-year-old American, and Lucas Fowler, a 23-year-old Australian, who were shot along the highway, according to the CBC. 

British Deese, Chynna’s brother, said the couple were on a trip to visit Canadian national parks when they were killed. He said the family believes they must have had engine trouble in their van.

Four days later, Dyck’s body was found about seven hours away near Dease Lake in British Columbia, not far from the burned-out vehicles used by the suspects.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/07/25/canada-manhunt-teens-suicide-mission-wanted-3-deaths/1825302001/

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