Canadian authorities have revealed the cause of death of teen murder suspects Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod after their bodies were found in dense bushland in remote Manitoba last week.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Monday (local time) the pair, who were at the centre of one of the nation’s biggest ever manhunts, had committed suicide.
The 19-year-olds are suspected of killing Australian Lucas Fowler, his American girlfriend Chynna Deese and Canadian academic Leonard Dyck last month in British Columbia.
Police said the pair died from gunfire and that their bodies “were deceased for a number of days before they were found,” a press release read.
It is unclear when exactly McLeod and Schmegelsky had died.
“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,” police said.
Police said two firearms were located with the bodies.
“Forensic analysis is underway in order to definitively confirm that these weapons are connected with the northern BC homicide investigations,” the release continued.
Their bodies were found by Manitoba authorities 8km from where their burnt out getaway car was discovered 16 days prior.
Police said their search of the Gillam area for evidence had now concluded.
Search goes cold before breakthrough
A discarded sleeping bag found by a passing tour guide on the Nelson River led authorities to the area where the bodies were found on Wednesday (local time).
The manhunt began after their burnt out car was found near Dease Lake in British Columbia on July 19, just two kilometres from where the body of Mr Dyck was found.
Four days earlier, the bodies of Mr Fowler and Ms Deese were found shot dead on the side of the Alaska Highway.
Police were initially reluctant to link the their deaths with Mr Dyck’s however as new evidence came to light, authorities revealed Schmegelsky and McLeod were suspects in the three deaths.
The teens were also charged over Mr Dyck’s death.
Schmegelsky and McLeod evaded police as they drove a stolen Toyota RAV4 3000km east along Canada's north to Gillam.
Despite a search of more than 11,000 square kilometres of wilderness by officers on the ground, drones, helicopters and Royal Canadian Air Force planes from the sky, the teens were not found and the search was scaled back until August 2 when items of interest, including a damaged row boat, were discovered on the Nelson River.
The search made headlines around the world, particularly in Canada where members of the public offered false sightings of the duo thousands of kilometres away in the eastern province of Ontario and notably in the small settlement of York Landing 90km southwest of Gillam.
There had been no official sightings of the pair since July 22.
Schmegelsky’s father Alan, in an interview with Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes, praised the teens’ ability to evade police after discovering they were still alive as the manhunt continued in late July
“These boys are smart, they’re intelligent.. kudos boys, kudos,” he said at the time.
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