Twist in hunt for Canada fugitives as ‘items’ found that link teens

The hunt for the teenage fugitives accused of killing a young couple has seen another twist as police find several items near a riverbank linked to the pair.

Officers searching for Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, have revealed items were found along the shoreline of the Nelson River in Manitoba, 9km from where they left a burnt-out vehicle on July 22.

The teenagers are suspected of murdering Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese.

Investigators would not disclose what the items were but say they were found on August 2. 

The discovery of the items came the same day police found a damaged aluminium boat near the river near Gillam, Manitoba.

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The search continues for teens Kam McLeod, 19, (left) and  Bryer Schmegelsky, 18 (right), as police block off a ghost town in Manitoba

The two teens are accused of killing Australian tourist Lucas Fowler (left) and US girlfriend Chynna Deese (right), and have been on the run for weeks

Police are now searching the town of Sundance, which closed in 1992, and once served as the hideout for a suspected murderer for three years

Police divers spent Sunday searching the frigid waters of the Nelson River for the bodies of two teenage fugitives suspected of shooting dead Mr Fowler and Miss Deese.

However, the underwater recovery team did not find additional items, police said. 

The boat was found about 70km north of Gillam and about 13km from where police believe the teens set light to the grey Toyota RAV4 they were driving two weeks ago. 

The search comes after police blocked off roads at Sundance in Manitoba. 

Sundance was built in 1975 to house the workers of the Limestone Dam project and their families, and consisted of mostly portable buildings, trailers, with a few small stores and a primary school.

The community was closed in September 1992, and satellite imagery shows empty lots surrounded by roads. 

Sundance, Manitoba (pictured) was built in 1975 to house the workers of the Limestone Dam project and their families

Sundance is considered part of the town of Gillam, where the teens were last seen, and is roughly 3,000km from where the bodies of Miss Deese and Mr Fowler were found. 

The roadblock has now been taken down, however, officers will remain in the Gillam, area. 

The three-week nationwide hunt for Schmegelsky and McLeod that began in the western Canadian province of British Columbia and has spanned more than 5000km east over three other provinces. 

The move to Sundance comes as the family of Miss Deese slam Canadian police for failing to find the teens, and question whether they were even involved in the tragic deaths of the young couple. 

Sundance has been deserted for decades, and satellite imagery shows only roads and empty lots (pictured)

Royal Canadian Mounted Police have released photos of a rowboat (pictured) found on the banks of the Nelson River in their search for Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19. Divers appear to have found nothing in the river though, and police are now focusing their attentions elsewhere

‘It’s taking so long, our family is frustrated the police have not made more progress and we don’t know if it’s even the teenagers who killed my sister and Lucas,’ Miss Deese’s brother Stetson told The Daily Telegraph.

‘Everyone wants to catch them but we don’t even know if they did it. We’re in the dark as much as the public about what happened to Chynna and Lucas.’

Survival experts predict the teenagers would struggle to stay alive if they attempted to hide in the swampy, bug-infested wilderness around Gillam without shelter and equipment.

Mr Fowler, 23, the son of a high-ranking NSW police officer, and his girlfriend Miss Deese, 24, were found shot dead in a ditch on the side of a BC highway on July 15.

The body of botanist Leonard Dyck was discovered four days later on another BC highway and 2km away from an abandoned and burning pick-up truck Schmegelsky and McLeod had been driving.

Schmegelsky and McLeod drove a grey Toyota RAV4 3000km east to Gillam before setting it alight in bushland.

The RCMP have not announced a single confirmed sighting of the duo since.

Schmegelsky and McLeod are the only suspects in the bloody highway murders. 

Survival experts predict the teenagers would struggle to stay alive if they attempted to hide in the swampy, bug-infested wilderness around Gillam – an area that includes Sundance – without shelter and equipment 

Ms Deese’s brother said his family is becoming frustrated with police, and they are questioning whether the teenage boys are even responsible

Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Royal Canadian Air Force, using teams on the ground and planes in the air with infrared cameras and imaging radar, unsuccessfully searched 11,000 square kilometres around the town of Gillam and surrounding wilderness before scaling back the hunt. 

The Ontario Provincial Police announced on Friday it had set up an investigative team to follow up on potential sightings of Schmegelsky and McLeod in their province. 

OPP Criminal Investigation Branch Detective Inspector Matt Watson will lead the new investigative team. 

The OPP received more than 30 tips in less than eight hours on Thursday. 

The search for McLeod and  Schmegelsky has spanned weeks and thousands of kilometres, but has produced no result

‘We ask anyone who believes they have observed these two suspects to report it to police immediately,’ Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Carolle Dionne said.

If the fugitives are in Ontario they have eluded authorities while travelling more than 5000km. That’s 1000km further than the distance between Sydney and Perth.

One unconfirmed sighting of the duo in recent days was of ‘a suspicious’ white vehicle driving through a construction zone on a highway in the small community of Kapuskasing, Ontario  

The RCMP and OPP have urged members of the public to call them immediately to report a possible sighting instead of posting information on social media.

If the suspects are spotted, authorities urged the public to take note of every detail.

‘Sharing as much information as possible on your observation is important such as type of vehicle, vehicle plate, description of clothing, direction of travel,’ Sgt Dionne said.

‘But most importantly, do not approach them as they are considered to be dangerous.’ 


July 15: At 7.19am, Royal Mounted Canadian Police are called to the side of the road on the Alaska Highway, in remote British Columbia.

Police found the bodies of a young man and young woman about 20km south of the Liard Hot Springs, not far from a beat-up blue minivan.   

July 16: Police publicly announce the two bodies were found dead on the side of Highway 97 but say ‘no further information is available’

July 17: Investigators ask anyone who may have seen, or have dashcam footage, between 4pm Sunday and 8am Monday to come forward 

July 18: Detectives confirm the identities of the two dead as Lucas Fowler, 24, and Chynna Deese, 23 

Some 470km away near Dease Lake, police discover an abandoned truck  

July 19: The body of Leonard Dyck is found two kilometres from the burned-out remains of the truck McLeod and Schmegelsky were travelling in 

July 21: Witness tells media of seeing a ‘bearded man’ having a ‘heated exchange’ with Fowler and Deese on the side of the highway

July 22: Pictures emerge of Fowler and Deese’s minivan with a blown out back window 

Police issue urgent appeal for two men who have gone missing near Dease Lake, Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18

July 23: McLeod and Schmegelsky are named as suspects – a massive search gets underway

A grey Toyota RAV 4 being driven by the pair is spotted in northern Saskatchewan

A burnt-out car is found near the town of Gillam, Manitoba. 

July 29: York Landing in Manitoba is thrown into lockdown after two men were spotted  foraging for food at a landfill

 July 31: Manhunt involving police, military, tracking dogs and drones has found no trace of two teenage murder suspects 

August 1: Police begin searching the province of Ontario, 2,000km from where the pair were last seen, after reports of a suspicious vehicle near Kapuskasing

August 2: Police say the sighting of the pair in Ontario was not credible, as Lucas Fowler’s friends and family hold an emotional memorial for him in Sydney

Police find several items directly linked to the suspects near the Nelson River after a battered rowboat washes ashore

August 3: Ontario police reveal they received more than 30 tips in just eight hours, and say they are following up on every single one

August 6: The search in the Nelson River is called off, and police block off the town of Sundance, which has been abandoned since 1992, and once housed a murder suspect for three years  


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