Canadian locals do not believe Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky could survive in Gillam's unforgiving wilderness featuring swamps, bugs, bears and wolves.
SWAT teams, tactical assault vehicles, drones, helicopters and sniffer dogs have descended on the remote northern Canadian outpost of Gillam, Manitoba, in a frantic search for two teens accused of going on a murderous highway rampage.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Thursday they had received 80 tips from the public in the past two days and believed accused killers McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, remain near Gillam.
After abandoning and torching their Toyota RAV4 getaway vehicle on Monday night (local time) in bushland outside of Gillam, the teenagers appear to have fled on foot into the wilderness where there are unforgiving swamps, bears, wolves and a summer infestation of bugs.
Gillam Mayor Dwayne Forman has been sceptical of the teen’s ability to survive the harsh conditions of the area, describing the area they’re believed to be trekking as "all swamp, heavy trees”, CBC reported.
He said the area was also frequented by polar bears, with the predators previously being the community’s biggest threat.
RCMP SWAT vehicles in Thompson ready to head to Gillam to search for the 2 suspects on the run. Stay safe and please report anything to your local RCMP #manitobamanhunt #canadamanhunt @CBCNews @CTVNews @rcmpmb pic.twitter.com/WRvRcfz5hS— PaulaDuarteSheppard🇨🇦🇵🇹 (@PaulaDS1973) July 25, 2019
Locals are advised to leave their vehicles open in the event of encountering a polar bear, allowing strangers to access the nearest safe spot and lock the doors.
However with the teens believed to be in the area, residents are urged to stay indoors, keeping everything locked, reducing their ability to escape or hide out.
"The sandflies came out three days ago and they're just voracious," Mayor Forman added.
"I'm quite sure they'll be more than happy to have someone find them."
William Hunter, a former firefighter in the area, said if unprepared in the thick bush, survival is slim.
"If you don't have the means to be in there, you're not going to make it," he said.
RCMP Corporal Julie Courchaine told reporters on Thursday there have been two established and corroborated sightings of the suspects in the Gillam area.”
Two black backpacks were also dumped in the area.
There have been no reports of vehicles being stolen, leading the RCMP to believe they have not fled by car.
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"At this point in the investigation, we believe they are still in the area," Corporal Courchaine said.
"Manitoba RCMP has deployed a significant amount of resources to the Gillam area, including our emergency response team or crisis negotiation team, police, dog services and air services assets."
The teenagers are accused of beginning a killing spree more than 3000km away on July 14 in the western Canadian province of British Columbia when they shot dead Australian man Lucas Fowler, 23, and his 24-year-old US girlfriend, Chynna Deese.
The old Chevrolet van Mr Fowler and Ms Deese were driving had broken down on a remote freeway near Liard Hot Springs in northern British Columbia.
Their bodies were found in a ditch.
Five days later and 467km away near Dease Lake, BC, authorities believe McLeod and Schmegelsky encountered and murdered University of British Columbia botanist Leonard Dyck.
The RCMP have charged the teens with second-degree murder for Mr Dyck's death.
They allegedly left Mr Dyck's body on the freeway, set fire to their own Dodge pick-up truck and escaped in the RAV4.
They drove it across northern Canada to Gillam where it is so desolate the road comes to a dead end.
The RCMP have set up roadblocks, while the wilderness is considered so severe and challenging locals doubt the two teenagers would be able to survive.
In winter, temperatures drop to below minus 20 degrees Celsius, but in summer the ground turns into a mush and there's an explosion of insects that make it impossible to tolerate without the correct equipment.
"This is very challenging terrain," Corporal Courchaine said.
"This is a large area.
"There's lots of dense bush, forests, swampy areas."
The RCMP refused to comment on reports the teenagers were obsessed by Nazi history.
Photos of Nazi memorabilia, including a swastika and knife, were reportedly posted to online accounts linked to the teenagers.
McLeod and Schmegelsky, from Port Alberni – near Vancouver, are long-time school friends who recently worked at Walmart.
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