The massive manhunt in northern Canada for two teenagers suspected of killing Australian tourist Lucas Fowler and his US girlfriend Chynna Deese is over.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced on Wednesday they located two bodies in thick bush near Gillam, Manitoba, believed to be 19-year-old fugitives Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky.
"I'm confident it is them," RCMP Manitoba assistant commissioner Jane MacLatchy told reporters.
"But to be sure we have to go to the autopsy."
The RCMP would not say what the items were, other than they were "directly linked to the suspects".
The search is over. At 10am this morning, Manitoba RCMP officers located the bodies of two males, believed to be the BC suspects, near the shoreline of the Nelson River (approx 8km from the burnt vehicle). #rcmpmb pic.twitter.com/tZ7EBFsNDr— RCMP Manitoba (@rcmpmb) August 7, 2019
At about 10am on Wednesday Manitoba time (2am Thursday AEST) RCMP officers "located two male bodies, in the dense brush, within 1km from where the items were found".
MacLatchy declined to say if the teenagers had suffered injuries or provide details about how they may have died.
"To the families of everyone affected by the series of events over the last few weeks, I know it has been so very difficult and I hope today’s announcement can begin to bring some closure," she said.
The breakthrough ends a tense three-week pursuit stretching 3000km across northern Canada.
‘The search is over’
It came after the bodies of Mr Fowler, 23, the son of a high-ranking NSW police officer, and his girlfriend Ms Deese, 24, were found shot dead and left in a ditch on the side of a British Columbia highway.
Mr Fowler and Ms Deese had been on a road trip and their old Chevrolet van broke down, leaving them stranded in a remote area.
Four days after the shocking July 15 discovery, Leonard Dyck, a university botanist, was found dead on another BC highway.
Specialized RCMP teams begin searching nearby high-probability areas, leading officers to the discovery of the two male bodies, in the dense brush, within 1 km from where the items were found. #rcmpmb— RCMP Manitoba (@rcmpmb) August 7, 2019
McLeod and Schmegelsky, who told their parents they were driving to Yukon to find work, came to the attention of the RCMP when their pickup truck was found burning 2km from Mr Dyck's body.
The teenagers then drove the stolen Toyota RAV4 3000km east along Canada's north to Gillam.
The Toyota was dumped in bushland and set on fire on July 22.
A huge deployment of police manpower descended on the quiet town.
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 last week.
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.
There had been no official sightings of the pair since July 22.
"Our officers knew that we just needed to find that one piece of evidence that could move this search forward," MacLatchy said.
"On Friday, August 2nd, that one critical piece of evidence was found – items directly linked to the suspects were located on the shoreline of the Nelson River.
"Following this discovery, we were, at last, able to narrow down the search."
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