Days after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they believed they had found the bodies of two missing teen suspects wanted in the murder of an American woman and her boyfriend, the police confirmed the identification and said that it appeared the boys had died by suicide.
The Manitoba Medical Examiner completed the autopsies of the two deceased teenagers and identified them as Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, a statement from the RCMP said on Monday.
The teens “died in what appears to be suicides by gunfire,” the statement said.
“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 continued. “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.”
The RCMP also said that two firearms found with the bodies are undergoing forensic analysis to confirm that they are connected to the homicide investigations.
Police found the bodies last Wednesday in rural Manitoba, after a launching a manhunt for McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18.
Victims Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and her boyfriend Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23, of Australia, were traveling through British Columbia in their 1986 Chevrolet van when their bodies were found on a desolate stretch of highway on July 15, the RCMP said in a statement at the time.
McLeod and Schmegelsky went missing shortly thereafter — and on July 19, nearly 300 miles away, authorities encountered a burned truck that they alleged had been abandoned by the pair, according to the RCMP.
That same day, authorities also discovered the remains of another man near the truck, later identified as a University of British Columbia lecturer Leonard Dyck, by Dease Lake.
Police quickly identified the teens as suspects wanted for questioning in all three deaths.
While police looked for them, McLeod and Schmegelsky were charged with second-degree murder in Dyck’s death.
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According to the RCMP, the Associated Press and the BBC, authorities had been able to narrow their search for the fugitives after finding items linked to them last week near the bank of the Nelson River in Manitoba. The bodies found last Wednesday were discovered in dense brush, in a location about five miles from where the burned-out vehicle had been located.
“We are confident that these are the bodies of the two suspects wanted in connection with the homicides in British Columbia,” said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy, according to the AP.
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