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Canadian teen serial killers committed suicide by shooting themselves after 15 days on the run, autopsy reveals

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 8/13/2019 Megan Sheets For Dailymail.com

Samuel van Houten smiling for the camera: 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 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
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Two teenage murder suspects who led authorities on a desperate 15-day manhunt across Canada died of apparent suicide by gunfire, a medical examiner has revealed. 

In a statement released Monday afternoon, police said the autopsies confirmed that the bodies found near the Nelson River outside Gillam, Manitoba, last week belong to fugitives Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19. 

Officials said two firearms were found with the teens, who apparently died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. 

The statement said it is unclear when they died, but that 'there are strong indications that they had been alive for a few days since last being seen in July and during the extensive search efforts in the Gillam area'. 

The discovery of the bodies concluded a 15-day manhunt that began in the western Canadian province of British Columbia and spanned about 3,100 miles across five provinces. 

Schmegelsky and McLeod were the sole suspects in the murders of North Carolina backpacker Chynna Deese, 24, and her Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler, 23, and had been charged with killing Vancouver botanist and father-of-two Leonard Dyck. 

Forensic analysis is underway to confirm whether the firearms are connected with the three homicides.  

McLeod and Schmegelsky reportedly left their hometown of Port Alberni, British Columbia, on July 12 after telling family members they were going to search for work in Whitehorse, Yukon. 

Three days later on July 15 the bodies of Deese and Fowler, who were roadtripping across Canada, were found in a ditch beside their broken down 1986 Chevrolet van.  

On July 19, 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, Manitoba. 

The killers ate a last meal of sardines, pork chops and oranges before setting alight the car they had driven across five Canadian provinces and covered more than 3,000 miles with police hot on their heels.

Their final hide-out in a densely-wooded area was found after local tour guide Clint Sawchuk spotted a blue sleeping bag tangled in some willows in the Nelson River last Friday. 

Police discovered a wrecked aluminium boat linked to the suspects on the river bank the next day.  

The boat, together with the sleeping bag, burned-out car and scraps of pork and orange peels, formed a trail of evidence that led police to the bodies.   

a close up of a green field: 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

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
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Officials initially refused to speculate about the cause of the teens' deaths.

Local media suggested that the teens could have succumbed to the harsh terrain, where natural threats included water contamination, anaphylactic shock and dangerous predators ranging from bloodsucking flies to a variety of bears. 

Residents living around Gillam who were on edge for over a week after 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.  

Schmegelsky's father Alan spoke out about the allegations over the weekend, expressing disbelief that his son could have committed the murders and refused to call him a killer. 

'I'm so sorry for what's happened, okay? Whether it's my son or whether it's something else, we don't know,' he said. 'I have just lost my son. I know exactly how you feel … I know they're hurt, and from our country to the families, I'm so sorry.'

Chynna Deese's sister Kennedy denounced Alan Schmegelsky's statements in a Facebook post, writing: 'We are not cut from the same cloth, as you play the victim and don't acknowledge your hand in your child's upbringing and ultimate demise.

'The proper public response would have been a genuine apology. But we still forgive you and have mercy.'   

Responding to news of his son's death, Alan Schmegelsky said: 'It hurts a lot. He was my only child. I never get to hug him again. I never get to tease him again. I never get to spend a minute with him again.

'A lot of parents know how I feel right now.' The father had self-published a book describing his son's tumultuous upbringing and struggles with mental illness.  

‘If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org. ‘

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