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RCMP head back to Manitoba river to search for clues on B.C. murders

ABOVE: Police discover new item near site of B.C. murder suspects' bodies

RCMP officers discovered one unspecified item after spending a Friday afternoon at the site where two bodies — believed to be that of B.C. murder suspects Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod — were found two days ago.

RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Paul Manaigre told Global News that the search on Friday involved six officers deployed in two locations, one of which was the location where the bodies were discovered earlier this week.

“As far as evidence goes, we found [an] item,” he said Friday. “Whether or not it’s relevant to the investigation, the investigators will look at it and determine if there’s a relevance.”

About six officers were expected to travel by boat on Nelson River on Friday afternoon to look for further clues into the suspects’ deaths and the murder cases.

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

The journey to the location is about 15 minutes from the shore of the Manitoba river.

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Manaigre said the officers are also searching around the area where a burnt vehicle was discovered during the manhunt.

“The idea is to see if there’s anything that might have been missed on the initial search and to be more thorough,” he said.

WATCH: Manitoba RCMP describe search of ‘harsh’ area where bodies believed to be that of BC murder suspects were found

The terrain for the location where he and his team were combing for potential evidence was “even more difficult than I would’ve imagined,” Manaigre added.

“The river banks in a lot of these locations can be anywhere from 60 to 80 to 100 feet high with slopes right to the water,” he said. “The current is extremely fast-moving. Soon as you walk into the bush, the bugs, they’re all over you, so like they’re not kidding when they say this is harsh terrain. It’s difficult to describe it.”

Officers are equipped with tools such as metal detectors and were expected to spend about four hours searching the area.

READ MORE: Why finding the motive in the B.C. murders is like ‘nailing fog to a wall’

Peter German, a lawyer and former deputy commissioner with the RCMP, said that although the manhunt is over, there could be valuable evidence at the location where the bodies were found in Manitoba.

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German said the presence of metal detectors could indicate police are looking for firearm ammunition.

“The one thing that comes to mind is bullets and shell casings, that sort of thing, which could be used to link to the murder scene in British Columbia,” German told Global News.

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

While it has not been confirmed with autopsy results that the bodies found by the river belong to the suspects, RCMP assistant commissioner Jane MacLatchy said Tuesday she is “confident” the bodies are theirs.

The bodies were sent to Winnipeg for autopsies, which will also confirm the cause of deaths, shortly after they were discovered.

“Was it murder-suicide? Or was it environmental factors of one sort of another,” German said. “The autopsy itself is wrapped up relatively quickly with the forensics to follow in due course.”

WATCH: Bodies believed to be that of B.C. murder manhunt suspects arrive in Winnipeg

Bodies believed to be that of B.C. murder manhunt suspects arrive in Winnipeg
Bodies believed to be that of B.C. murder manhunt suspects arrive in Winnipeg

MacLatchy said the bodies were found in a “dense bush” area, roughly eight kilometres from where a burnt vehicle allegedly belonging to the suspects was found days earlier.

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She noted it was a “critical piece of evidence” found on Friday that allowed them to focus on certain areas, which eventually led to the discovery.

— With files from Joe Scarpelli 

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