NEWS
07/31/2019 14:27 EDT | Updated 07/31/2019 16:42 EDT

RCMP Scales Down Search For B.C. Murder Suspects In Northern Manitoba

Officers have searched more than 11,000 square kilometres of wilderness with no luck.

RCMP Manitoba/Twitter
RCMP officers search homes and buildings in the Gillam, Manitoba.

WINNIPEG — The RCMP are scaling back the search for two British Columbia murder suspects in remote northern Manitoba.

Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said over the past week officers have searched more than 11,000 square kilometres of wilderness using the best technology available and have found no sign of Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod.

Police have also canvassed more than 500 homes in the Gillam area, searched abandoned buildings, rail lines and hydro corridors. They have used all-terrain vehicles, drones, helicopters and planes to cover the landscape of muskeg, dense forest, lakes and rivers.

“I think we’ve done everything we can and pulled out all the stops,” MacLatchy told a news conference in Winnipeg.

“It’s just a very tough place to find somebody who doesn’t want to be found.”

MacLatchy emphasized that the search in the Gillam area is not over, but resources will be scaled down over the next week. Military aircraft that were helping with the search have pulled out but are available if needed again, she said.

Schmegelsky, 18, and McLeod, 19, are charged with second-degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia professor Leonard Dyck, whose body was found earlier this month in northern B.C.

Watch: Two suspects wanted for a string of murders in B.C. Story continues below.

Police also consider the men suspects in the shooting of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, who were found dead on the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, B.C.

Schmegelsky and McLeod were initially thought to be missing persons but were later named as suspects in the killings. After a few sightings across the Prairies, a burned-out vehicle the pair had been travelling in was located near Gillam.

Search efforts moved to York Landing earlier this week after there was a tip the suspects were spotted rummaging through a garbage dump there. But the sighting could not be substantiated and officers returned to Gillam and the nearby Fox Lake Cree Nation.

MacLatchy said investigators are open to the possibility that the suspects are dead, or somehow got a ride out of the area and are somewhere else.