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Canadian police scale down manhunt for fugitive teenagers

Over the next week there will be a phased withdrawal of Royal Canadian Mounted Police and military personnel and assets from the Gillam area.

Security camera images of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Security camera images of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

Canadian police are scaling down the hunt for two teenagers suspected of killing three people.

Over the last nine days, police and others have used helicopters, drones, boats and dogs to search a remote part of northern Manitoba for the pair who are suspected of killing a college professor, an American woman and her Australian boyfriend.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy told a news conference in Winnipeg: “To be clear, we’re not ending the search.

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Officers searching in the Gillam, Manitoba area (Royal Canadian Mounted Police via AP)

“I know that today’s news is not what the families of the victims and the communities of northern Manitoba wanted to hear. But when searching for people in vast, remote and rugged locations, it is always a possibility that they are not immediately located.”

Over the next week there will be a phased withdrawal of RCMP and military personnel and assets from the Gillam area, about 660 miles north of Winnipeg, where a burnt out vehicle belonging to the suspects was found last week.

Military aircraft that were helping with the search have pulled out. A number of tactical resources and specialised assets will remain in the Gillam area and police are ready to return if needed.

Kam McLeod, 19, and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, a University of British Columbia professor whose body was found last week in British Columbia.

They are also suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese, whose bodies were found on July 15 along the Alaska Highway about 300 miles from where Mr Dyck was killed.

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The search is being scaled down but not abandoned (Royal Canadian Mounted Police via AP)

The search for them — which has involved the canvassing of over 500 homes and buildings and the following up on over 250 tips — has left some residents scared and on edge.

Ms MacLatchy said: “Even with this extraordinary effort, we have not had any confirmed sightings of the suspects since the burned vehicle was located. Taking into account all of the work so far, it has come time to re-assess our deployment of resources to the area.

“Everything is possible at this stage. The north part of the province is a very unforgiving place. We are keeping all possibilities in mind as we go forward.”

On Tuesday, police abandoned their search for the pair in York Landing, a small community near Gillam. The search was prompted by a tip from a neighbourhood watch group, but police said there were no sign of the teenagers.

Ms MacLatchy said: “This is a very large area we are looking at, very remote. It’s a very tough place to find somebody who doesn’t want to be found.”

Earlier in the manhunt, Schmegelsky’s father, Alan Schmegelsky, said he expected the nationwide manhunt to end in the death of his son, who he said is on “a suicide mission”.

PA

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