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For families linked to northern B.C. murders, there may be no closure: experts

Family of B.C. murder victim remembers Leonard Dyck as ‘gentle soul,’ family man
WATCH: The family of B.C. murder victim Leonard Dyck are remembering their loved one as a kind and “gentle soul.”

Chynna Deese. Lucas Fowler. Leonard Dyck.

Three names, now inextricably linked to two young men from Port Alberni, B.C. — Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod.

The two were suspects in the murders of the first three, and are believed dead after two bodies were discovered near Manitoba’s Nelson River.

READ MORE: Family of B.C. murder victim remembers Leonard Dyck as ‘gentle soul,’ family man

The bodies were found there following a trip that is believed to have taken the pair from Vancouver Island to Gillam in the province’s north — a journey of about 3,000 kilometres. Autopsies were expected Thursday.

Each one of them leaves behind a family now mourning their loss. And people who have counselled others in their grief say they may never find closure after the suspects’ bodies may have been discovered on Wednesday.

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“There is no such thing as closure,” Dr. Pauline Boss, a professor at the University of Minnesota, told CJOB’s The Start on Thursday.

Boss wrote a book, Ambiguous Loss, about the change people experience in which there is no certainty, no way for them to return to the way they used to be.

“It’s a loss that remains unclear,” like soldiers missing in action, or when someone experiences dementia, leaving the body behind, if not the mind.

In the case of these murders, there’s no certainty about the circumstances that to these victims’ deaths, nor the alleged perpetrators’.

WATCH: Police activity winding down in Gillam, MB as Canada-wide manhunt comes to an end

Police activity winding down in Gillam, MB as Canada-wide manhunt comes to an end
Police activity winding down in Gillam, MB as Canada-wide manhunt comes to an end

“There’s an incongruence between absence and presence that the family has to live with,” Boss said.

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“That’s very anxiety-producing.”

Some may say that with the possible discovery of the alleged murderers’ bodies, the families can find closure now.

READ MORE: B.C. murder suspects Bryer Schmegelsky, Kam McLeod believed to be dead

Boss finds that “very cruel.”

“Closure is a perfectly good word for business deals that have closure, for roads that are closing,” she said.

“But even after someone is found, the pain does not necessarily end. In this case, just because these boys were found … [it] does not end the pain for the families. They have a lot of pain they’re going to have to live with, perhaps for the rest of their lives.”

Winnipeg counsellor Carolyn Klassen also doesn’t feel that closure happens — but she does believe there’s a turn of the page, so to speak.

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“It’s sort of like one chapter has ended and another has begun,” she told Global News Radio’s Hal Anderson Afternoons.

Nevertheless, she does not feel this matter is finished for the families.

“[For] the victims’ families, there are so many unanswered questions,” Klassen said.

“That’s the part that makes this an ambiguous loss. They’re not sure they’re going to get the answers, they have to learn to live with the ambiguity of not knowing much of what happened.”

WATCH: (Aug. 7) Bodies believed to be B.C. murder suspects recovered, sent to Winnipeg for autopsies

Bodies believed to be BC murder suspects recovered, sent to Winnipeg for autopsies
Bodies believed to be BC murder suspects recovered, sent to Winnipeg for autopsies

And it’s not just the families of victims who will turn to a new stage now.

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This manhunt also happened to the people of Gillam, the small town where Schmegelsky and McLeod had their last confirmed sighting on July 22.

“For some, there will be that feeling of hyper-vigilance, of kind of looking over their shoulders and locking their doors in ways they’re not used to,” Klassen said.

“It’s kind of hard to lose that feeling when you have worn it in your body for a couple of weeks.”

Wilma Derksen’s 13-year-old daughter Candace was abducted and killed in 1984.

Since then, she has established Candace House, an organization that provides support and refuge for people who have been affected by violent crime.

“I’ve heard many victims who have had their murderers deceased, express the same frustration as if they were alive,” Derksen told CJOB.

“Now we’ll never have justice; now we’ll never know, because an important part of all this is information.

“Part of the justice process is to know the answers, and right now, everybody’s been denied the answers they would have if they were living.”