Canadian police are struggling to locate two teens wanted for murder despite a “exhaustive search,” with some wilderness experts speculating that the pair might have died in the swampy wilderness.
Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, have evaded capture since July 19, despite an increasingly intense man hunt led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) which has traversed 2,000 miles from British Columbia to Manitoba.
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RCMP have charged the duo with the murder of 64-year-old Leonard Dyck on July 19, and also suspect their involvement in the deaths of backpackers Chynna Deese, 24, and Lucas Fowler, 23, on July 15.
The pair were spotted by a gang of civilian vigilantes in York Landing, Manitoba, on Sunday, but on Monday RCMP tweeted they had “not been able to substantiate the tip.”
Several Royal Canadian Air Force planes had been deployed to scour the area from the air, after a tip from James Favel, executive director of civilian patrol group Bear Clan Patrol.
Favel told Global News that his team spotted two young men in clothing similar to what it is believed the suspects are wearing foraging for scraps at a garbage dump.
They fled into the forest when they realized they had been seen.
Two former law enforcement officials with experience operating in remote locations like Gillam and York Landing have said there is a significant chance the teens may have died, or be close to death, in the wilderness.
Sherry Benson-Podolchuck, a retired RCMP officer, told CTV: “If they’re out there in the bush, they’re probably running out of food and water and the bugs would be absolutely tormenting.”
“I can’t imagine surviving too much longer without much help.”
“If they’ve died, they wouldn’t find them through thermal imaging because of course your temperature goes down.”
Chris Lewis, a former commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police also told CTV: “They may be dead. They may have fled the area. They may have hunkered down in a cabin. We don’t know.”
On Sunday, RCMP said they have recieved more than 200 tip-offs that the teen duo were still in the Gillam area.