TORONTO - Two young men thought missing are now suspects in the murders of an American woman and her Australian boyfriend as well as the death of another unidentified man in northern British Columbia, Canadian police said Tuesday.
"The RCMP are now considering Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky suspects in the Dease Lake suspicious death and the double homicide of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese," RCMP Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said.
Shoihet said they are considered dangerous and urged the public not to approach them and to call 911. Police released surveillance photos of the two in Saskatchewan.
The separate discoveries of three bodies and a burning car with missing occupants shook rural northern British Columbia last week — murders are rare in the remote region, and the community was quick to fear a connection between the deaths. Authorities were hesitant at first to validate such a connection.
"This is unusual. I know people want to put a link between all of these crimes, but at this point we don't have anything to link them," Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Chris Manseau said. "But it is very unusual for that area, especially in such a remote area."
The Royal Mounted Police said Monday they were searching for 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky, whose burning car had been discovered south of Dease Lake, just a little over a mile from the suspicious remains of an unidentified body.
The burned vehicle belonged to McLeod and Schmegelsky, both of Port Alberni, British Columbia, who were traveling to Whitehorse in the Yukon to look for work, according to police. Authorities are not sure what made the two young men head back into British Columbia.
Now police are confident enough in their evidence to have announced McLeod and Schmegelsky as suspects.
Shoihet said Tuesday that McLeod and Schmegelsky left British Columbia and have been travelling in northern Saskatchewan in a gray 2011 Toyota Rav 4.
Police said Tuesday they were still working to identify the male body that was found nearby their burned-out vehicle, but said he appeared to be in his 50s or 60s. They released a sketch of the man, with a heavy build, grey beard and grey hair, and asked for the public’s help in identifying him.
The location of the burned out vehicle and unidentified body is about 300 miles along remote highways from the spot where 24-year-old American Chynna Deese and 23-year-old Australian Lucas Fowler were found shot dead along the Alaska Highwas near Laird Hot Springs over a week ago.
Fowler and Deese met at a hostel in Croatia and proceeded to travel across the world together. Their families said that the two loved to travel together and were on a trip exploring Canada’s national parks when they were killed. Deese’s family believes that the couple must have been having car trouble when they were attacked by the side of the road.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.