RCMP confirm B.C. fugitives died from 'suicide by gunfire'

Elisabetta Bianchini

B.C. RCMP has confirmed that the bodies of two men found in Manitoba last week were in fact Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky. Officials have also identified that the cause of death appears to be suicide by gunfire.

“While both individuals were deceased for a number of days before they were found, the exact time and date of their deaths are not known,” the statement reads.

“However, there are strong indications that they had been alive for a few days since last seen in July and during the extensive search efforts in the Gillam area.”

McLeod and Schmegelsky were suspects in the killings of Australian tourist Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese, and were charged with second-degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia lecturer Leonard Dyck. B.C., all in northern British Columbia.

Manitoba RCMP confirmed on Aug. 7 that officials had located bodies believed to be Schmegelsky and McLeod during a foot search of the area, approximately 8 km away from where the burnt vehicle was located last month, near Fox Lake Cree Nation.

According to the RCMP, two firearms were located with the deceased men. Forensic analysis is underway to “definitively confirm” that the weapons are connected with the homicide investigations.

Investigators are currently analyzing all items located in Manitoba in an attempt to get more clarity on Dyck, Fowler and Deese’s deaths.

“The assessment will review all the investigative findings to date, whether it is statements, evidentiary time lines, physical or digital evidence,” the statement explains.

“The B.C. RCMP commits that once we have completed that review within the next few weeks, we will be providing the families with an update with respect to the totality of the investigations and then releasing the information publicly.”

Last week, RCMP in Manitoba said they had found several items on a shoreline in the northern part of Manitoba that were directly linked to the homicide suspects, about 9 km away from where a burnt-out vehicle used by the fugitives was found on Jul. 22.

Alan Schmegelsky, father of Bryer, spoke to Australia’s 60 Minutes about his self-published book, Red Flagged, which explains his son's upbringing and mental health.

"It hurts a lot. He was my only child. I never get to hug him again. I never get to tease him again. I never get to spend a minute with him again," he said in the interview. "A lot of parents know how I feel right now."

In a Facebook post, Kennedy Deese, sister of murder victim Chynna, criticized the elder Schmegelsky for releasing his book and his comments to the media.

“We are not cut from the same cloth, as you play the victim and don’t acknowledge your hand in your child’s upbringing and ultimate demise,” she wrote in the post.