Suspects spotted twice in Gillam area before burned vehicle found, believed to still be in area: RCMP
Two men suspected in the three deaths in British Columbia were spotted in the Gillam area, RCMP said in an update Thursday.
“We can now confirm that there have been two established and corroborated sightings of the suspects in the Gillam area,” said Cpl. Julie Courchaine, media relations officer for Manitoba RCMP.
The search for two suspects in a trio of B.C. deaths has people in Gillam, Man., and Fox Lake Cree Nation shaken.
Police descended on the region after a car was discovered burning Monday evening, that RCMP later confirmed the suspects has been travelling in.
Courchaine said the sightings of the men took place on Monday before police located the vehicle, but police believe the men are still in the area.
She said no vehicles have been reported stolen “that could be attributed to the suspects.”
The suspects, Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, have been charged with second degree murder in the death of a man identified Wednesday as Vancouver’s Leonard Dyck, after being previously named as suspects in his death and the deaths of a couple, Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese.
Courchaine emphasized that the men should not be approached if they are spotted.
Instead people are urged to immediately call 911, local police and in the Gillam area, 204-652-2200, or in Thompson, call 204-677-6911.
Heavy police presence amid search
Courchaine said RCMP resources that have been deployed to the region include an emergency response team, a crisis negotiation team, police dog services and air services.
“Our officers have conducted detailed and thorough searches of potential areas of interest, and these searches continue,” she said, noting they’ve received more than 80 tips in the past 48 hours and ask the public to remain on guard.
She said the area itself presents a challenge for searchers.
“This is very challenging terrain,” Courchaine said. “This is a large area, there’s lots of dense bush, forest, swampy areas, so it is very challenging.”
Her update came hours after an RCMP armoured Tactical Assault Vehicle. or TAV, could be seen rolling out of Gillam and into the remote wilderness, as a helicopter searched overhead.
Gillam Mayor Dwayne Forman said the police presence had grown Thursday.
“I was really surprised to see a tactical vehicle in town, obviously something that wouldn’t come to a small town like Gillam,” Forman said.
“To see that all the officers in the area in full gear, it’s really eye opening and makes the situation real.’
'People are frightened, children are inside indoors:' Fox Lake, Gillam residents on edge
Forman said confirmation from police that the burned vehicle had been used by the murder suspects caused the mood in town to shift.
“It’s confirmed fears for them, kind of made them feel different, a little more need to secure themselves in their house.
Fox Lake resident Dwight Beardy said people are taking steps to feel safer.
“Some other people actually grabbed their guns and had their guns loaded by their bed,” he said.
“People are frightened, children are inside indoors,” Beardy said. “You never see that around here.”
Gillam only has one road that leads in and out of town, and RCMP have set up a checkpoint to inspect vehicles passing through.
Gillam, an 11-hour drive from Winnipeg, is also located along a rail line that connects to Churchill, Man. The mayor of that community also urged residents to be vigilant, as a precaution.
-With files from CTV’s Jeff Keele and CTVNews.ca’s Jackie Dunham