Torched car found in Manitoba linked to B.C. homicide suspects: RCMP
A burned-out vehicle found on a Manitoba First Nation was being driven by two Vancouver Island homicide suspects, RCMP confirm.
Investigators say Port Alberni residents Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are suspects in three deaths that occurred across northern B.C. last week.
Mounties said the pair was last seen driving a grey 2011 Toyota RAV-4.
The vehicle was found on Fox Lake Cree Nation reserve Monday after RCMP received a report of a vehicle fire, said Cpl. Julie Courchaine.
"We can now confirm that this vehicle is the same vehicle that the suspects were travelling in," an RCMP spokesperson said in a news conference held in Winnipeg Wednesday.
RCMP have set up checkstops on two roads leading into Gillam and have deployed additional resources to the area, saying there would be a "heavier police presence in the community."
Fox Lake Cree Nation Chief Walter Spence said he had spoken with RCMP and established an all-night patrol in the community as a precaution.
"With respect to public safety, we understand the concerns being raised. This is a complex, ongoing investigation involving multiple jurisdictions," said Cpl. Julie Courchaine.
She didn't say whether there had been any further sightings of McLeod or Schmegelsky in the province.
The Canada-wide manhunt has captured the attention of the country after the series of deaths in northern B.C.
Lucas Fowler, 23, and Chynna Deese, 24, were found shot to death on July 15 along the Alaska Highway.
Four days later, an unidentified man's body was discovered kilometres from McLeod and Schmegelsky's burned-out truck on Highway 27 near Dease Lake, B.C., about 470 kilometres from the Alaska Highway crime scene.
The Port Alberni teens were previously believed to be missing until investigators released the shocking update that they were now considered suspects in the homicides. A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for their arrest.
The last confirmed sighting of the pair was in Meadow Lake, Sask. on Sunday, according to RCMP.
Police say the teens may have changed their appearance or vehicle since the last sighting.
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale discussed the high-profile manhunt with reporters at an event in Saskatoon Wednesday, assuring Canadians that RCMP and police were treating the case with "utmost" seriousness.
"Their one very critical advice to everyone in western Canada is to be alert, be vigilant about your surroundings," Goodale said. "If you see a situation that at all raises questions in your mind or causes concern, do not intervene in any way personally. Call 911 or report the situation to your local police."
He said he had "great confidence" that police forces across Canada were alert and on-guard.
Ontario Provincial Police issued its own public safety warning Wednesday in relation to the manhunt, though there have been no reported sightings in that province.
OPP said it appears the suspects are heading in an "easterly direction" and asked anyone who sees them to call 911.