A man has come forward with bombshell claims two Canadian teen murder suspects legally purchased a hunting rifle from a local gun store before setting off on their road trip to hell.
Lifelong friends Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, were found dead in thick scrub near the Nelson River in remote northern Manitoba on August 7, ending a marathon manhunt that made headlines around the world.
Two guns were found nearby and a post-mortem examination confirmed the pair had shot themselves in a double suicide. They reportedly recorded a final video message on a mobile phone found at the scene.
While on the run, the pair was charged with the second degree murder of 64-year-old academic Leonard Dyck and named prime suspects in the killings of Australian backpacker Lucas Fowler, 23, and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, on highways in British Columbia.
Schmegelsky’s father Alan told reporters his son and McLeod loved to dress in camouflage and play wargames in the bush with replica Airsoft guns but insisted Bryer had no experience with real weapons.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have yet to disclose how Mr Dyck died but confirmed Mr Fowler and Ms Deese had been shot to death.
Compared to the US, Canada has strict laws governing weapons sales and it had been assumed Schmegelsky and McLeod obtained their guns illegally.
Now it has emerged the teens may have bought at least one of their weapons over the counter at a gun shop in their home town of Port Alberni — days before the killing spree began.
A local resident has told the Alberni Valley News he was on his way home when he called in at the local gun shop to find the teens in deep consultation with an employee.
“I watched as the clerk shared his expertise and advised on the best cartridges to use, matched a hunting rifle to their budgets and made the sale,” he told the paper.
He did not specify the date but said it was before Schmegelsky and McLeod left town.
The man, who was not named, said he had shared the information with the RCMP.
The teens had set off in their Dodge on July 12, telling family they were heading to Alberta to look for work, after quitting their low paying jobs at Walmart.
On July 15, Mr Fowler and Ms Deese were found shot to death alongside their broken down campervan on the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs.
Four days later, Mr Dyck was found dead 500km away on another highway. Schmegelsky’s and McLeod’s abandoned, burnt out Dodge was found two km away.
Police initially failed connect the three crime scenes, listing the teens as missing persons before dramatically switching their status to triple murder suspects on July 23.
By that time, Schmegelsky and McLeod were long gone, having driven more than 4000km in a stolen Toyota Rav4 to rural northern Manitoba, where they torched the car at Fox Lake Cree Nation reserve near the town of Gillam before vanishing into the dense bush.
With the world watching, RCMP threw all available resources at finding the pair, sending SWAT teams in heavily armoured trucks, a military jet, drones, sniffer dogs and hundreds of officers to scour more than 11,000sq km of heavily forested, swampy and sometimes treacherous terrain.
Gillam and the nearby town of York Landing — which have a collective population of less than 2000 — were placed in lockdown for days as police conducted door-to-door searches of homes and abandoned buildings.
Police were scaling down their search when they lucked out with not one but two breakthroughs on Friday, August 2.
The first was the discovery of a damaged aluminium boat, spotted during an aerial search, near the shoreline of the Nelson River. Around the same time, local tour operator Clint Sawchuk called in what he thought was a sleeping bag on the river bank.
That led to the discovery of several items police were able to “directly link” to Schmegelsky and McLeod on the riverbank — just 8km from where they ditched their getaway car.
Their bodies were found on August 7 in dense scrub, around 1km from where the mystery items were recovered.
On Monday it emerged the pair had videoed a “goodbye” message on a mobile phone found at the scene.
Relatives of the dead fugitives told the Toronto Star police had shown them around 30 seconds of the video in which the pair describe what they want done with their remains.
Police have not revealed if the video contains confessions or clues to what sparked the murder spree.
Meanwhile, police have ruled out any link to the bodies of two men found near the tiny community of Spences Bridge in British Columbia on August 17.
Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr were reported missing after their vehicle was found near Logan Lake on July 19.
The RCMP’s Southeast District Major Crime Unit is investigating the deaths as suspicious and made a public appeal for information on Thursday.
“We have been working closely with the BC Coroners Service to confirm the identities of the deceased as Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr,” Sergeant Steve Rigby told CTV.
“The RCMP is confirming their identities in an effort to advance our investigation,” Sgt. Steve Rigby with the major crime unit says.
RCMP Staff Sergeant Janelle Shoihet said their bodies were found in an area not accessible by vehicle.
“A helicopter from the RCMP Air Services was used to extricate the bodies from that area so that should give you a good determination as to where they were located,” she said.
“(It was) not obviously in a well-travelled area that we were able to access with a vehicle, and a helicopter was utilized in order to get the bodies out of there.
“We do believe that this is an isolated incident. It isn’t connected in any way to any of the other ongoing investigations that are happening … nor is it connected to the northern B.C. incidents. So we want to assure the public that this is an isolated incident.”