Suspects in homicides that prompted Manitoba manhunt confessed on camera; no hint of motive: RCMP
WINNIPEG -- Six weeks after the bodies of two suspects in three homicides in British Columbia were found following a manhunt in Northern Manitoba, RCMP said its investigation hasn’t uncovered a reason why the murders took place.
“The murders appear to be random and crimes of opportunity, with no known motive,” said Kevin Hackett, an assistant commissioner with the RCMP. He said there is no evidence the crimes were “planned or predicted.”
“While we have been able to gain greater clarity on the movements and the actions of the two accused, we respect that the answers have not reduced the trauma and the grief experienced by the families of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese and Leonard Dyck.”
Hackett told reporters that police have reviewed six videos made by the suspects, Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, recorded on a camera taken from Dyck.
In the videos, the suspects admitted guilt but expressed no remorse, Hackett said. He said they also mentioned intentions to potentially kill others, and themselves. The Mounties won’t release the videos, Hackett said, because they’re concerned they could influence others to carry out copycat crimes.
He said Mounties who work in behavioural analysis said people who “commit mass-casualty attacks or similar acts of violence are heavily inspired by previous attackers and their behaviours,” and releasing the videos would be disrespectful to the families of victims and could sensationalize the crimes.
Retracing a 3,000 kilometre journey
Hackett said the B.C. RCMP had up to 160 officers working on the investigation during the time the suspects were on the run, receiving more than 1,500 tips from the public and reviewing thousands of hours of closed circuit television recordings.
“We believe that no other suspects were responsible for the three homicides, or were involved in any way,” Hackett said.
He said investigators believe McLeod and Schmegelsky came across thevan Fowler and Deese were travelling in and killed them for an unknown reason, before travelling north to Yukon, then returning to B.C. after experiencing vehicle troubles.
That’s when Hackett said they came across Dyck, and shot and killed him.
“The suspects then burned their vehicle to cover up evidence and delay police, before stealing Mr. Dyck’s vehicle, money and a number of other personal items, all of which facilitated further escape, ultimately towards Eastern Canada.”
Hackett said once they arrived in Manitoba, they burned the vehicle they had stolen and tried to keep going on foot.
“It is believed McLeod shot Schmegelsky, before shooting himself in a suicide pact,” he said.
The suspects’ bodies were found with two rifles, and Hackett said an RCMP firearms lab determined they were the same guns used in the three homicides.
Hackett acknowledged everyone who assisted investigators, and members of the public for being patient.
“We know that this file has had impacts provincially, nationally as well as internationally,” he said.
“Many, many have been affected. But none more so than the grieving Fowler, Deese and Dyck families.”
The RCMP have released a report detailing its findings.