RCMP searched over 11,000 sq. km. for murder suspects who traversed 4 provinces: police
The RCMP traversed an area far greater than the distance that the suspects in three murders in northern B.C. travelled before they were found dead near Manitoba’s Nelson River on Wednesday morning, about eight kilometres from where a burnt vehicle was found days prior.
The pair had been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of UBC botany instructor Leonard Dyck, and were suspects in the deaths of Australian Lucas Fowler and American Chynna Deese.
WATCH: RCMP load bodies believed to be B.C. murder suspects onto planes to Winnipeg for autopsies
In an internal RCMP communication, Commissioner Brenda Lucki said Mounties “worked 24/7, logging more than 4,500 investigation hours during this search for the suspects.
“We searched more than 11,000 square kilometres of terrain across northern Manitoba, scouring rail lines, trains, hydro corridors, winter roads, waterways, coast line and vast areas of forest and trails,” she added.
Lucki said officers deployed a host of equipment in the search, including planes, choppers, boats, police dogs, ATVs, drones, armoured vehicles and underwater recovery teams.
“We also liaised closely with partners in the private and public sectors, including members of the public, following up on more than 250 tips,” she wrote.
“I’m thankful to say that all of this extraordinary work has paid off.”
The RCMP were not alone in the search, however. Joining them were the Canadian Armed Forces, the Department of National Defence, the Bear Clan Patrol and others.
WATCH: Goodale won’t say what cost of B.C. murders investigation will be
The search area outnumbers the vast distance that Schmegelsky and McLeod must have travelled to arrive in Manitoba.
Dyck’s body was found south of Dease Lake, B.C. That community is over 3,300 kilometres from Gillam, where the teens were last seen on July 22.
The Mounties’ work is not over, however.
B.C. RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett said the investigation into the case will continue, but admitted it will be “extremely difficult” to figure out Schmegelsky and McLeod’s motives.
He said the RCMP were anticipating charges in the deaths of Fowler and Deese, but they were not forthcoming.
With the suspects dead, the charges in Dyck’s death will now be abated, said the B.C. Prosecution Service.
- With files from Sean Boynton, Maham Abedi and Hannah Jackson
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.