With no motive determined in the murders of three people in northern B.C., the families of the victims and suspects say it could be years before several unanswered questions are finally resolved.
RCMP on Friday released their findings in the months-long investigation into the deaths of American Chynna Deese, her Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler, and Vancouver botany lecturer Leonard Dyck, who were found dead this past July on opposite ends of the province.
Their report concluded definitively that all three victims were killed by Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, who confessed to the murders on video but did not share why they committed the crimes.
Six videos were made on a digital camera belonging to Dyck that was found near the bodies of Schmegelsky and McLeod, who were discovered in rural Manitoba weeks after the murders.
The pair was found to have died in a suicide pact, RCMP revealed, adding the suspects announced their intentions to kill themselves in the videos as well.
“They indicate no remorse for their actions, as well as their intentions to potentially kill others,” B.C. RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett said.
WATCH: RCMP release findings from northern B.C. murder investigation
In a statement released along with the RCMP’s report, Deese’s family thanked police for coming to the best conclusion they could, while also thanking the public for their “empathy and aid” throughout the investigation and manhunt.
“The loss we continue to endure is shattering, but Chynna’s memories are a benediction to her genuine happiness and intense love of life,” the family said. “Throughout this tragedy, along with the help of many, they serve as our reminder of the good nature and peace humanity has the capacity to show.
“We hope Chynna’s legacy continues to grow and her spark allows us to build each other up.”
The families of Fowler and Dyck have yet to comment on the RCMP report or its findings.
The mayor of Port Alberni, where Schmegelsky and McLeod lived and many family members continue to reside, also expressed gratitude to the police while expressing condolences to the victims’ families.
“I hope the additional information answers some of the questions that so many people have had about this very sad case,” Sharie Minions said in a statement.
“While I recognize there will never be an adequate explanation for the families and loved ones of the victims, we hope the findings will at the very least bring some closure.”
Suspect’s timeline clear
The RCMP report laid out the timeline of actions Schmegelsky and McLeod took before and after the murders.
Notably, RCMP revealed that one of the two semi-automatic rifles used to kill Deese, Fowler and Dyck was purchased at a Cabela’s hunting supply store in Nanaimo on July 12, the same day the pair left Port Alberni for the Yukon.
The gun was purchased legally using McLeod’s possession and acquisition licence, investigators said.
A request for comment from Cabela’s Canada was not returned Friday.
McLeod was also found to be the registered owner of the truck the pair left Port Alberni in, and was found burning close to where Dyck’s body was discovered outside Dease Lake on July 19.
The bodies of Deese and Fowler were found near the Alaska Highway outside Fort Nelson on July 15, more than 500 kilometres away.
Police confirmed the pair took Dyck’s Toyota RAV4 and used it to travel quickly across Western Canada to Manitoba, stopping only for gas and food that could be eaten on the road.
Police said the gun from Cabela’s was later found with the bodies of Schmegelsky and McLeod outside of Gillam, Man., along with the second rifle.
Investigators revealed that rifle’s parts featured different serial numbers of unknown origin — suggesting it was pieced together from different weapons over time.
WATCH: (Aug. 12) RCMP say teenage fugitives died of ‘suicide by gunfire’
The videos on the camera found with the suspects’ bodies featured Schmegelsky and McLeod discussing plans to hijack a boat to leave the country, potentially killing other people, before entering into a suicide pact.
Hackett said the pair was “cold” and “remorseless” when describing the killings.
RCMP say they are not releasing the videos or images to the public, saying they wish not to give McLeod or Schmegelsky further notoriety or to inspire further acts of violence by others.
McLeod’s family has not provided comment on his actions as detailed in the RCMP report, after staying mostly silent throughout the investigation and manhunt.
Father awaits more findings
The final video contained Schmegelsky and McLeod’s “last will and testament,” police said, including their wishes to be cremated. The pair’s families have viewed that video, RCMP confirmed.
Sarah Leamon, the lawyer for Schmegelsky’s father, Alan, said her client does not wish to view the other videos, saying they only confirm theories he’s been thinking about “for some time.”
She added they are waiting for behavioural analysts to conduct further investigations into why Schmegelsky and McLeod may have committed the crimes, in the hopes of answering more of their questions.
WATCH: (Sept. 18) Father of suspected B.C. murderer speaks about family nightmare
“Hopefully it will reveal something more about why they embarked on this path of destruction,” Leamon said.
“There’s also been a call for a public inquiry into this matter, so I guess we’ll have to see if that is ultimately ordered. But I think there’s still many unanswered questions, and it would be to the public’s benefit to seek those answers.”
Alan Schmegelsky could not speak to his son’s relationship with McLeod, or whether one of them may have been the “ringleader.”
He also doesn’t know where the second gun may have come from, or if his son possibly built the gun himself.
“They’re already saying he had it,” he said. “Does that mean he built it, or did Kam have it? We don’t know.”
Now that he can talk about his son’s final wishes and has some questions answered, the father is seeking further counselling services in order to deal with his grief.
“I think it’s very important to get the answers to the other questions we have, to ensure something like this never happens again,” Leamon said.
—With files from Jill Bennett and Sarah MacDonald