Coffins carrying the remains of two teenage serial killers were loaded into police vehicles hours after the discovery of the bodies brought a furious 15-day manhunt to a close.
The corpses believed to belong to Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, were found less than a mile from the Nelson River near Gillam, Manitoba, on Wednesday morning.
Footage shows the densely-wooded area that served as the suspects’ final hide-out, where they ate a meal of sardines, pork chops and oranges before setting alight the car they had driven across five Canadian provinces with police hot on their heels.
The burned-out vehicle, a discarded sleeping bag, scraps of pork and orange peels and a marooned aluminum boat formed a trail of evidence that led authorities to the bodies.
They were able to narrow the search after local tour guide Clint Sawchuk spotted a blue sleeping bag tangled in some willows in the Nelson River last Friday. They found a wrecked aluminum boat on the shore the following day.
At a press conference Wednesday, officials said autopsy will be performed Thursday to confirm the identities of the deceased, along with when and how they died.
Local media speculated that the teens could have succumbed to the harsh terrain, where threats included water contamination, anaphylactic shock and dangerous predators ranging from bloodsucking flies to a variety of bears.
Whatever the circumstance, it likely wasn’t a comfortable end for the teenage killers.
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Coffins carrying the remains of two teenage serial killers were loaded into police vehicles hours after the discovery of the bodies brought a furious 15-day manhunt to a close
Canadian Police say the corpses believed to be Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, were found by Nelson River near Gillam, Manitoba, on Wednesday morning
Half-eaten pork chops and orange peels were found alongside the teens’ burnt out car, which was found five miles from where their bodies were discovered
The bodies were found less than a mile from the Nelson River (pictured) outside of Gillam
Police were able to narrow the search after local tour guide Clint Sawchuk (pictured) spotted a blue sleeping bag tangled in some willows in the Nelson River last Friday
Officers came across a rowboat (pictured) on the banks of the Nelson River on Saturday
On Wednesday evening, investigators were seen loading steel coffins into police planes that transported the remains to Winnipeg, where a coroner will examine them.
Officials have refused to speculate what the teens may have died of.
The body discovery concluded a 15-day manhunt that began in the western Canadian province of British Columbia and spanned about 3,100 miles across five provinces.
‘Our officers knew that we just needed to find that one piece of evidence that could move this search forward,’ Jane MacLatchy, assistant commissioner for Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba, said at Wednesday’s press conference.
Schmegelsky and McLeod were the sole suspects in the murders of North Carolina backpacker Chynna Deese, 24, and her Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler, 23, as well as Vancouver botanist and father-of-two Leonard Dyck.
The body discovery concluded a 15-day manhunt that began in the western Canadian province of British Columbia and spanned about 3,100 miles across five provinces
The search zeroed in on the Nelson River (pictured) after a local tour guide spotted a blue sleeping bag tangled in willow trees in the water last Friday
Schmegelsky and McLeod are accused of killing American backpacker Chynna Deese (right) and her Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler (left), who were found dead on July 15
The body of botanist Leonard Dyck, 64, was discovered on July 19 on a BC highway a mile away from an abandoned and burning pick-up truck Schmegelsky and McLeod had been driving
The heartbreaking saga began on July 15 in the western province of British Columbia when the bodies of Fowler and Deese were found in a ditch beside their broken down blue 1986 Chevrolet van.
The lovestruck couple was on a Canadian road trip.
Four days later Dyck was found dead on another BC highway some 300 miles away by Dease Lake. His Toyota RAV4 was missing and a Dodge pickup truck had been set on fire about a mile away.
Police determined that the Dodge belonged to McLeod, who had vanished along with his childhood best friend Schmegelsky.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported the teens as missing on July 19, fearing that they had been killed or kidnapped by whomever committed the murders of Deese, Fowler and Dyck.
On July 24, RCMP announced that Schmegelsky and McLeod were suspects in the three murders after the RAV4 was found in flames near Gillam by local residents Billy and Tamara Beardy.
‘[There were] cans of sardines, small propane bottles, forks, orange peels, loose change and partially eaten pork chops’, Tamara Beardy told The Globe and Mail.
Sawchuk, who owns Nelson River Adventures, told CBC he spotted what he believed to be a sleeping bag in the willows near the river which he later reported to police.
RCMP would later investigate the area and ultimately locate a damaged boat and the two teens’ bodies nearby, he claimed.
‘I’m very happy it’s over and they found them,’ Sawchuk told the news outlet.
Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said she is ‘confident’ the bodies belong to the suspects. An autopsy will be performed to confirm their identities and cause of death
Residents living around Gillam who have been on edge for over a week since the suspects were spotted in the area finally got some relief when the bodies were found.
While Schmegelsky and McLeod are currently the only suspects in the three murders, police say their investigation will not close until it is proven they were responsible.
Speaking in British Columbia on Wednesday, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett said there is ‘significant evidence’ linking the scene of Fowler and Deese’s death to that of Dyck’s death, but none linking the victims together and no proof the murders were targeted.
Survival experts predicted the teenagers would struggle to stay alive if they attempted to hide in the swampy, bug-infested wilderness around Gillam without shelter and equipment
SUSPECTED SERIAL KILLERS ON THE RUN IN CANADA: A TIMELINE
July 12: Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky leave their hometown of Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, to search for work in Whitehorse, Yukon, according to family members
July 15: Police find the bodies of Chynna Deese, a 24-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, and Lucas Fowler, a 23-year-old from Sydney, Australia, on the side of Highway 97 about 12 miles south of Liard Hot Springs in remote British Columbia.
The blue 1986 Chevrolet van they were driving on their road trip through Canada is found nearby with a blown-out back window
July 18: McLeod’s torched Dodge pickup truck is found 300 miles away near Dease Lake
July 19: The body of Leonard Dyck, a 64-year-old Vancouver botanist, is found about a mile away from the burned-out remains of the truck McLeod and Schmegelsky were traveling in
RCMP reports the teens as missing, fearing that they had been killed or kidnapped by whomever committed the murders of Deese, Fowler and Dyck
July 24: Schmegelsky and McLeod are named as suspects in the three murders after the RAV4 was found in flames near Gillam
July 29: York Landing in Manitoba is thrown into lockdown after two men were spotted foraging for food at local landfill, sparking a massive search by police, military, tracking dogs and drones
August 1: Police begin searching the province of Ontario, 1,200 miles from where the pair were last seen, after reports of a suspicious vehicle near Kapuskasing
August 2: Police say the sighting of the pair in Ontario was not credible, as Lucas Fowler’s friends and family hold an emotional memorial for him in Sydney
Local tour guide Clint Sawchuk spots a blue sleeping bag in the Nelson River outside Gillam and contacts police
August 3: Sawchuk’s tip leads police to a battered row boat washed up on the river bank
August 6: The search diverts to the town of Sundance, which has been abandoned since 1992, and once housed a murder suspect for three years
August 7: Canadian Police announce that two male bodies believed to belong to McLeod and Schmegelsky were found in ‘dense bush’ by the Nelson River, five miles from where they abandoned the burning car