UPDATE: ‘Thorough, exhaustive’ search of York Landing yields no signs of B.C. fugitives

Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky have been on the run for seven days

A “thorough and exhaustive” search of the York Landing area has led to no signs of two men wanted for murder in northern B.C. as of Monday at noon.

Manitoba RCMP had been focused on York Landing after a tip from a volunteer patrol suggested men who looked like Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were seen in the area.

The lead came in around 4:15 p.m. Sunday night from the Bear Clan Patrol, a volunteer group that has been keeping up a presence in the remote Manitoba wilderness.

Executive director James Favel said members spotted “two men who meet the description of the two wanted suspects. They appeared to be scavenging food out of the dump.”

READ MORE: RCMP still hunting for B.C. fugitives reportedly spotted near York Landing

The manhunt for McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, is now stretching into its seventh day.

The Port Alberni men are facing second-degree murder charges in the the death of University of B.C. professor Leonard Dyck on July 19, and remain suspects in the double homicide of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese on July 15.

Cpl. Julie Courchaine said northern Manitoba’s rough terrain has made the search near York Landing challenging. The community remains on lockdown and Courchaine urged residents to lock their doors, cars and report any sightings to RCMP.

“Search area is very similar to Gillam… it’s northern Manitoba. There’s lots of forests, lots of muskeg, waterways,” she said.

“When we get a tip it’s not like you can just drive there in 20 minutes. We need flights, we need to get our members out there.”

York Landing is a small community of about 400 on the shores of the Nelson River. It is about 3.5 hours, or 200 kilometres, southwest of Gillam. In the summer, the community is accessible only by road and ferrry, by a rail line from Gillam that runs about 25 kilometres south of York Landing or a hydro line trail.

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky remain on the loose seven days after they were declared homicide suspects. (RCMP)

Police have revealed no confirmed sightings of McLeod and Schmegelsky since July 22, when a stolen torched SUV was dumped near Gillam.

Prior to that, the fugitives were captured on security camera in Meadow Lake, Sask., on July 21. There have been no confirmed sightings, but much speculation, since the two were declared suspects on July 23.

Courchaine said police believe the sightings in York Landing Sunday are credible, but are not confirmed.

McLeod and Schmegelsky were reportedly spotted by Bear Clan Patrol members “scavenging food out of the dump” at about 4:15 p.m. local time.

Arthur Bearby of the York Factory First Nation said police were flooding the northern Manitoba community.

“They’re close by in the vicinity of the community,” Bearby told Black Press Media by phone.

“RCMP have been spotted here with choppers.”

Courchaine said the search would continue Monday with the help of the Royal Canadian Air Force, which was grounded Sunday due to heavy winds.


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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