Answers could still come in northern B.C. homicides, retired Mountie says

The RCMP have said it will be difficult to determine a motive in the McLeod and Schmegelsky case

Investigators should be able to provide some answers about three homicides in northern British Columbia even though two suspects in the case are believed to be dead, says a former RCMP assistant commissioner.

The manhunt for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, from Port Alberni, B.C., ended Wednesday when two bodies were found in dense brush in northern Manitoba.

Mounties have said it could be difficult to determine a motive if the suspects can’t be interviewed.

Peter German, who retired from the RCMP in 2012, said it will be hard, but there is already some key evidence available that speaks to motive.

“At least one of the individuals seemed to be highly influenced by violent video games,” he said. “His father has spoken publicly about what he believed would happen — death, suicide, going out in a blaze of glory.

“That all goes to motive.”

McLeod and Schmegelsky were suspects in the killings of Leonard Dyck, a university lecturer from Vancouver, and American tourist Chynna Deese and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler. The bodies of the three were found in mid-July near highways in northern B.C.

READ MORE: Outcome of search for B.C. fugitives ‘absolutely devastating’: Alberni mayor

Police initially treated McLeod and Schmegelsky as missing persons when their charred vehicle was found not far from Dyck’s body. The pair had told family and friends they were leaving home to find work.

But investigators later deemed them to be suspects and details surfaced about their use of video games. One account showed Schmegelsky was a frequent player of a shooting game called “Russia Battlegrounds,” and both young men’s Facebook pages were connected to an account with a modified Soviet flag as its icon.

RCMP also said they were investigating a photograph of Nazi paraphernalia sent to another user by Schmegelsky, who was also pictured in military fatigues brandishing an airsoft rifle and wearing a gas mask.

During the manhunt, Alan Schmegelsky told The Canadian Press that his son had a troubled upbringing and the father said he expected the young men wanted ”to go out in a blaze of glory.”

German said investigators will look at the suspects’ social media accounts, any written documents and communication with family and friends.

“It’s surprising in this day and age with social media what you can find.”

The tougher problem, he said, will be determining why the suspects did what they did in the sequence they did.

It may also be difficult to determine why they ended up in Gillam, he said.

“Did they have some sort of a plan that flowed from a video game that they end up in northern Manitoba? What was the next step for them?”

The autopsies, which are being done in Winnipeg, could provide some answers about when and how they died.

German said the work in Manitoba will be complete once those results are available and officers are finished collecting any remaining evidence there, and police in B.C. will continue the investigation.

“At the end of the day, they will I’m sure provide some sort of a briefing to the public and certainly to the families to inform them of what has taken place.”

Sam Johnson said he hopes there are answers for the three families.

The southern Alberta resident is still waiting for answers after his ex-wife, Jane Johnson, and eight-year-old daughter, Cathryn, were found dead in their Turner Valley home in 1996. It was initially believed they died from smoke inhalation, but an autopsy revealed Jane, who was pregnant, had been stabbed to death.

No one has been charged in the case.

“Obviously I’d like to know why and, of course, you’d like to see the people punished.”

After experiencing so much grief, he said, it’s important for families to get some justice.

“I feel horrible for the relatives of the victims (in B.C.) … it’s senseless violence with no reason,” said Johnson.

“Somebody should pay when they affect your life that badly and that dramatically.”

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Manitoba Manhunt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe B.C. over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Robert Vroom, died as result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

Abbotsford Hospital COVID-19 outbreak over, a new one reported at business

New World Technologies is site of ‘very small’ outbreak, says Dr. Bonnie Henry

Solidarity demonstration planned for Abbotsford on Friday

People gathering to protest police brutality and systemic racism in downtown Abbotsford

Fraser River freshet peak is coming soon

Predictions for 2020 by River Forecast Centre has the freshet peak at the Mission gauge for June 4-5

PHOTOS: Harrison Hot Springs Resort reopens

Reopening both celebrated and sombre as Harrison opens up again

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read