'Not going to make it': The unlikely threat teen murder suspects are facing in bush

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.

Canadian authorities armed with guns and a dog search for suspects Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky.
Armed police hunt the teens in Manitoba with a sniffer dog. Source: CBC
Two authorities armed with guns in Manitoba as they search for the murder suspects accused of shooting dead Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese.
Locals believe the harsh conditions will be tough to survive for the teens. Pictured are Canadian authorities hunting the suspects. Source: CBC

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.

Pictured Kam McLeod (left) and Bryer Schmesgelsky (right). Police say the pair dumped two black backpacks.
McLeod (left) and Schmesgelsky (right) are believed to be hiding out in or around Gillam. Source: BCRCMP

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.

A map of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsk's movements across Canada. Source: Google Maps
A map of showing the road trip McLeod and Schmegelsk have been on across Canada. Source: Google Maps

Father believes son is on ‘suicide mission’

Schmegelsky's father, Alan, warned on Wednesday he believed the teenagers were on a suicide mission and planned to die in a "blaze of glory" with police.

"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.

Australian Lucas Fowler and his North Carolina girlfriend, Chynna Deese, were found dead on Atlanta Highway in British Columbia.
Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese were found dead on a ditch in British Columbia. Source: Facebook

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.

A photo of a third victim, Leonard Dyck, who was also found shot dead. Police believe he was killed by the suspects.
Leonard Dyck was found shot dead two kilometres from the teens burnt-out Dodge. Source: BCRCMP

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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