A national manhunt is underway for two Canadian teens considered suspects in the murder of a North Carolina woman and her boyfriend found shot to death along a Canadian highway.
Investigators have announced that Kam McLeod, 19 and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, should be considered “dangerous” as authorities believe they may be responsible for three deaths along British Columbia rural highways in a span of just a few days.
The pair are being sought in connection with the death of American Chynna Deese and her Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler, who were found shot to death along a highway just outside Liard Hot Springs on July 15. Just four days later, the camper van being driven by the suspects was found in flames along another highway nearly 300 miles away. The burned-out vehicle was discovered less than a mile away from another dead body of a man believed to be in his 50s or 60s.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police now believes the pair may have been spotted in the Gillam area, one of the last communities found along the highway, possibly leaving behind yet another burned vehicle, according to News 1130.
But as the pair continue to evade authorities, just what is known about the childhood best friends?
McLeod and Schmegelsky have reportedly been best friends since elementary school and grew up on Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, according to CBC.
McLeod’s friend Branden McHale told the Canadian outlet that McLeod was a happy person who loved video games, like League of Legends.
“He didn’t have a lot of friends, but he was really funny,” he said.
He described Schmegelsky as shy and quiet.
“He was really loudspoken in his friend group, but pretty quiet in general,” he said.
His social media account suggests he may be a musician.
Schmegelsky’s father, Al Schmegelsky told CHEK he last spoke to his son on July 12, when he texted to say he and McLeod planned to go up to Alberta and that he may not have internet access for a while.
He said the pair had been working together at a local Walmart for five weeks after their high school graduation before they decided to go find “real money” in Alberta.
“They're just kids on an adventure, like, they’re good boys. They are really good boys,” he said.
Schmegelsky said the teens were not violent and are “good people”; he said both were into gaming.
He said his son had asked for an Airsoft rifle for Christmas two years ago and would play war with his friends in the woods.
“Knowing that, that both of them are totally into that, if there was any threat, they would have done what they’ve actually trained themselves to do and they would have camouflaged themselves in the woods,” he said.
He believes his son may have witnessed something or been “at the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.
Authorities had initially listed the teens as “missing” people after discovering their burned-out camper van—but later announced the pair was considered suspects in all three murders as the investigation continued.
It’s not clear why investigators consider them suspects in the crimes.
A cashier at Split Lake believes she saw the pair on Monday around 4 p.m. as they paid for their gas. Mychelle Keeper told CBC that Schmegelsky asked if they could consume alcohol in the community, which was dry, but she didn’t notice anything unusual about the visit until she noticed their pictures in media reports the following day.
“The guy who paid for gas—he was quiet, he didn’t say anything, he was just looking down,” she said. “They seemed like, I don’t know, normal.”
She said it made her nervous now to recall the interaction.
“After I realized that it was them, I felt really scared,” Keeper told News1130.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have said anyone who sees the teens is urged not to approach them and to contact authorities immediately.
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