Advertisement

Canadian Forces aid search for B.C. murder suspects in Gillam, Man.

Click to play video 'RCMP go door-to-door searching for tips on teen fugitives' RCMP go door-to-door searching for tips on teen fugitives
WATCH: RCMP investigators have begun their door-to-door campaign in Gillam, Manitoba, as the manhunt continues for teen murder suspects Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky. As Seán O'Shea reports, the town is already on edge – Jul 27, 2019

RCMP officers are going door to door in Gillam, Man., and Fox Lake First Nation looking for leads in the search for two men suspected of killing three people in northern B.C.

Police said that in addition to canvassing homes, officers were also searching abandoned buildings in their manhunt for Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19.

READ MORE: Canadian Forces approved to join air search for B.C. murder suspects

As of Saturday afternoon, more than 100 homes and buildings had been cleared.

No new sightings of the pair have been reported, the RCMP said.

Canadian Forces aircraft arrived in Gillam to assist with the search on Saturday. In a statement, the military said a CC-130H Hercules aircraft from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Winnipeg would be joining the efforts.

Story continues below advertisement

The Bear Clan Patrol, an Indigenous-led foot patrol group, has volunteers on the ground in Fox Lake Cree Nation and York Landing First Nation, according to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

Bear Clan member Travis Bighetty said that the group aims to help with communication and foster a sense of security.

“Just trying to go into the communities to try to provide that sense of safety,” he told The Roy Green Show.

Schmegelsky and McLeod have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of 64-year-old Leonard Dyck of B.C. and are suspected in the double homicide of Australian Lucas Fowler and American Chynna Deese.

Police said a RAV 4 that was used by the suspects was found near Gillam earlier this week, and there have been two sightings of them in the area.

On Friday, Mounties asked anyone who might have unwittingly helped the suspects leave the area to come forward.

“It is possible that someone may not have been aware of who they were providing assistance to and may now be hesitant to come forward,” Cpl. Julie Courchaine said at an RCMP update in Winnipeg on Friday.

Story continues below advertisement

The town of Gillam has been on edge, Karen Donnellan-Fisher, the general manager of the local Co-op, told Global News.

“We have a couple of locations where employees will generally work by themselves because it’s quieter locations, and now we’ve upped that where nobody is being left alone at any time,” she said.

She noted that the small town of Gillam isn’t used to being in the national spotlight.

WATCH: Goodale says increased personnel, technology being used to aide manhunt for B.C. murder suspects. 

Click to play video 'Goodale says increased personnel, technology being used to aide manhunt for B.C. murder suspects' Goodale says increased personnel, technology being used to aide manhunt for B.C. murder suspects
Goodale says increased personnel, technology being used to aide manhunt for B.C. murder suspects – Jul 26, 2019

“It’s kind of crazy to be honest. Normally it’s a pretty quiet town but we’ve got tons of media in town and lots of RCMP officers.”

Story continues below advertisement

While the heavy police presence is unusual, Donnellan-Fisher said it helps her feel safer.

READ MORE: How police dogs help manhunts in places like northern Manitoba

“On a personal basis and feeling safe, I feel safe. I live right in town and there is a lot of police traffic in and around the community.”

The search for the two Port Alberni, B.C.-based suspects has been ongoing for five days. On Friday, police released video footage of the pair at a Co-op store in Meadow Lake, Sask.,

The video shows McLeod and Schmegelsky walking through the aisles and then exiting the store. The clip was taken on Sunday, a day before they were sighted in northern Manitoba.

 

In the video, McLeod is wearing a shirt with a “Cathulhu” logo on it, while Schmegelsky is wearing a button-down shirt with a camouflage pattern. Police have warned the pair may have since changed their appearance to try and evade the nationwide manhunt, which includes officers from several divisions searching on foot, both with dogs and using drones.

Police said there have been no reports of stolen vehicles since the RAV 4 was found abandoned.

Story continues below advertisement

Courchaine urged the public across the country to keep a careful watch out for the pair, and stressed that there have been no confirmed sightings in the Gillam area since Monday, which is why the search is still focused there.

She went on to say that more than 120 tips have been sent to RCMP over the past week, including online rumours that instilled “fear and panic” across a number Manitoba communities. One of them was a photo that began circulating that depicted a young man who looked strikingly like McLeod holding up a copy of a newspaper that featured the two suspects on the front page.

Wait, There’s More: Unpacking the B.C. murders

Story continues below advertisement

It was eventually determined by RCMP that the man in the photo was not, in fact, the suspect, and Courchaine attempted to reassure residents that police would work as fast as possible to share confirmed facts and sightings.

READ MORE: Bryer Schmegelsky, Kam McLeod seen at Meadow Lake, Sask. Co-op store in newly-released video

In an interview on Friday with Global News Radio, B.C. RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Manseau said information from the public “has been really instrumental” in the search.

He also added that the two men, while last spotted in Manitoba, “could be just about anywhere.”

“We want all Canadians to remain vigilant, keep an eye open,” he said.

—With files from the Canadian Press, Jesse Ferreras, Maryam Shah and Kerri Breen