'We have done everything we can': RCMP scale down manhunt in northern Manitoba
The manhunt for two B.C. teens wanted for murder is being drawn down in northern Manitoba.
Port Alberni fugitives Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, are charged in the death of Vancouver man Leonard Dyck, and are suspected in the double homicide of Australian Lucas Fowler and American Chynna Deese.
The pair have been on the run for at least nine days.
On Wednesday the RCMP announced they are drawing down their search efforts in northern Manitoba, citing no credible leads since July 23, when the suspects' burned-out vehicle was found outside the town of Gillam.
The drawdown includes the gradual removal of specialized RCMP and Royal Canadian Air Force assets from the area. Military aircraft that were helping with the search have already pulled out but are available if needed again, according to police.
"We have done everything we can to locate the suspects," said Manitoba RCMP assistant commissioner Jane MacLatchy on Wednesday.
"There remains a possibility that the suspects had some assistance in fleeing the area."
MacLatchy said the news that police are scaling back the search likely isn't what the victims' families and the people of northern Manitoba want to hear, but the search area is vast and the terrain is unforgiving.
Searchers have combed through more than 11,000 square kilometres of Manitoba wilderness, using boats, patrol aircraft, drones and dogs.
"We used some of the most advanced technologies available," she said.
"Even with this extraordinary effort we have not had any confirmed sightings of the suspects since the burned vehicle was found."
The RCMP says it has received more than 260 tips in the case in the past week alone, though none have proved particularly fruitful.
"It's a very tough place to find somebody that doesn't want to be found," MacLatchy said.
Police rushed to York Landing, Man. on Sunday after a “credible” tip reportedly came in about two men who matched the descriptions of the teens were seen rummaging through a local garbage dump.
On Tuesday, Manitoba RCMP Cpl. Julie Courchaine said police were unable to substantiate the tip that the suspects had been in the area.
"We ran that down as far as we could and we didn’t come up with anything,” MacLatchy said.
Police say they have canvassed more than 500 homes in Gillam and the nearby Fox Lake Cree Nation.
The RCMP will leave behind some resources in the Gillam area to continue the search, while others are redeployed elsewhere.
Anyone who sees McLeod or Schmegelsky is advised not approach them and to contact police immediately.