Uncertainty lingers in Gillam as RCMP scales down search
The manhunt in Gillam, Man,. may be winding down but for people living in the area the uncertainty hasn’t gone away with the two B.C. homicide suspects still at large.
Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in connection with three deaths but haven’t been found following an extensive air and ground search by the RCMP.
For the past 10 days the remote Manitoba town has been the centre of the nationwide search. Unfamiliar territory for people who know the area for its peace and quiet.
People like local trapper Darryl Dick.
“I enjoy being out in the bush, trapping,” said Dick. “It gives me peace of mind.”
Like many others who live in Gillam, Dick moved here for work with Manitoba Hydro. He’s stayed 10 years, won over by the peace and quiet, wildlife, and wilderness.
But life as Dick knows it has turned upside down ever since the vehicle driven by the two B.C. fugitives was found burned out not far from one of his favourite fishing holes. It’s the suspects’ last known whereabouts.
“It’s in the back of my mind, still, thinking they could be anywhere,” said Dick.
The RCMP has scaled down the northern Manitoba manhunt, admitting it doesn’t know where the two suspects went.
Police said they’ve searched everywhere they can with all the resources they have and need to reassess their strategy.
Gillam Mayor Dwayne Forman understands.
“They’re still keeping a presence in our community and keeping our community safe,” said Forman. “And at a moment’s notice, they can definitely get to an area if there’s any spotting.”
Forman said everyone’s handling the situation differently. He wants to make sure anyone who needs help coping, gets it.
“Let the town ask questions so they can get their answers. Obviously if they’re going to ask where the people are, the two fugitives, we’re obviously not going to answer because we don’t know,” said Forman.
Dick hopes the meeting will help people get on with their lives and hopes police catch the suspects soon.
“I think soon enough they’re going to come out.”
Premier Brian Pallister spoke out Thursday about the manhunt in Gillam, saying that he wants to compliment Forman on the thoughtful and respectful way he has handled the situation, as well as the leadership he has shown.
“And I wanted to thank the people who have been doing their best, including the Bear Clan, to try to assist,” he said.
“This is a frightening situation. These are allegedly young men who have committed violent acts and so naturally people are on edge and ill at ease. I just want to say to the community leaders and the volunteers who have been out helping the RCMP and our frontline police personnel, thank you for your hard work and thank you for protecting us. We appreciate it very much.”