Manitoba RCMP withdraw from York Landing as search for two teen B.C. murder suspects continues

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      After the focus of a Canada-wide manhunt shifted from one small community in Manitoba to another, RCMP has unfortunately come up empty-handed.

      Today (July 30), Manitoba RCMP stated that they have now received over 260 tips over the past seven days about the whereabouts of 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky and 19-year-old Kam McLeod from Port Alberni, B.C., who are wanted on Canada-wide warrants and are suspects in two cases involving three murders in B.C.

      RCMP added that none of the tips have established that the two males are outside the Gillam area. RCMP confirmed on July 24 that a burned vehicle that the pair had been travelling in was found near Gillam in Northern Manitoba. 

      While the search had previously been focused on Gillam, a sighting by Indigenous patrollers prompted RCMP to converge upon a First Nations community about 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Gillam.   

      Around 5 p.m. on July 28, the Bear Clan Patrol notified the RCMP that two males who matched the description of the two male suspects were seen in York Landing, which has a population of about 450 people. 

      RCMP Manitoba

      RCMP resources—including the Emergency Response Team, police dog services, containment team members, major crime services, air services, and the Royal Canadian Air Force—were immediately deployed to the area.

      At the time, Manitoba RCMP urged all residents to remain vigilant and indoors with doors locked.

      York Factory First Nation Chief Leroy Constant issued a statement that echoed the RCMP warning and added that heavy winds were limiting helicopters and drones.

      However on July 29, Manitoba RCMP stated that despite a “thorough and exhaustive search”, they were “unable to substantiate the tip in York Landing” about the two suspects being there. At the time, they had stated that RCMP resources would remain in both Gillam and York Landing.

      RCMP Manitoba

      But today (July 30) Manitoba RCMP stated that the “heavy police presence” in York Landing has been withdrawn and that “policing resources in the community will return to normal”.

      RCMP also stated today that they have completed their door-to-door canvasing of 500 homes in Fox Lake Cree Nation and Gillam for tips.

      An information checkstop on the road leading into Gillam has also been removed.

      Manitoba RCMP also clarified that there are inaccurate reports about an RCMP officer seeing the suspects at Split Lake at a checkstop last week. RCMP stated that the individual was a Split Lake First Nation Safety Officer and not an RCMP officer.

      RCMP are searching for 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky and 19-year-old Kam McLeod.
      B.C. RCMP

      McLeod is described as 193 centimeters (six-feet, four-inches) tall and weighs about 77 kilograms (169 pounds). He has brown eyes and dark brown hair as as well as facial hair.

      Schmegelsky is described as 193 centimetres (six-feet, four-inches) tall and weighs about 77 kilograms (169 pounds). He has sandy brown hair.

      RCMP released a surveillance footage of the pair walking through a store in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, on July 21.

      However, on July 26, Manitoba RCMP stated that the two males may have changed their appearance and someone may have inadvertently given them assistance in leaving Gillam.

      Anyone who sees them is urged to call 911 immediately. 

      RCMP Manitoba
      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook