Armed forces join manhunt as victims’ Aussie dream revealed
A GIANT C130 Hercules military plane has landed in the remote Canadian town where a huge manhunt is underway for the suspected teen killers of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese.
A military aircraft has arrived in Northern Manitoba to help search for 2 suspects wanted in 3 deaths in British Columbia. https://t.co/BKHNjK4aIT— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) July 27, 2019
Suspects Kam McLeod, 19 and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky were last seen in Gillam, which has a population of just 1,200, in remote northern Manitoba on July 22nd.
The stolen Toyota Rav4 they had driven from the other side of the country where Mr Fowler, Ms Deese and Canadian father-of-two Leonard Dyck were killed was found burnt out 50km north of the town on Wednesday.
The massive Royal Canadian Air Force plane which touched down just after 10am on Saturday has special sensors on board to locate an individual's body heat.
It will sweep a huge area, inaccessible to vehicles from Gillam northwards to the coastal port town of Churchill.
Just 24 hours earlier the military's help was promised by the Canadian minister for public safety, Ralph Goodale.
An officer helping to lead the police search team in Gillam said: "The Hercules is going to be a huge help covering a big distance in a short space of time.
"It's fitted with all kinds of sensors to pick up movement and body heat."
Temperatures in Gillam rose Saturday bringing out swarms of flies.
"The conditions are hellish out there in the bush, if the suspects are out there the flies will be driving them insane."
Officers were also conducting door-to-door inquiries Saturday asking local people if they may have inadvertently picked up the teenagers.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police believe they could have changed their appearance after they ditched the Rav4 and fooled a local into picking them up as hitchhikers.
Also on Saturday armed police dog teams were continuing to search tracks around the town.
Officers in camouflage gear were also spotted preparing a boat to be used in the search.
The area is dotted with reservoirs, waterways and hydro-electric plants.
There are scores of abandoned buildings and even uncompleted new industrial areas where the wanted teens could have been hiding.
Also on Saturday a team from the Winnipeg-based Bear Clan Patrol landed in the town to work with the local indigenous community.
Travis Bighetty, Bear Clan Patrol coordinator said: "Some people are very scared and disturbed that there are gunmen on the loose here and we are here to help assure them that the police are doing everything they can to find them."
"In the criminal investigation of the two fugitives in northern MB (Manitoba) the RCMP have requested aircraft support from the Cdn Armed Forces. Prompt reply - YES," he wrote.
The family of Ms Deese who was murdered alongside Mr Fowler on the Alaska Highway nearly two weeks ago, will today hold a memorial service in North Carolina celebrating her life.
Her heartbroken brother, British Deese, told Fox News his sister and Lucas were planning to get married and have kids and that they intended to live in Australia while the children were still young so they would grow up with "Aussie accents".
Mr Fowler and Ms Deese were found shot to death next their blue Chevy campervan on a remote stretch of the Alaska Highway.
They were just two days into a dream holiday visiting national parks across Canada.
The pair were to spend nearly three weeks on the holiday before Mr Fowler was due to return to his job as a ranch hand.
Schmegelsky and McLeod were at first thought to be missing and perhaps victims of the same killer after their pick-up truck was burnt out not far from where a third body was found. But then it emerged the two teenagers were suspects in all three deaths.
They were known to have travelled to Manitoba in a grey Toyota Rav 4. That vehicle was found on fire earlier this week but the pair still have not be found.
Police have now released new footage of the teenagers who have been charged with second degree murder of 64-year-old University lecturer Ronald Dyck.
It shows the pair calmly walking around a hardware store.
The footage was taken at the Meadow Lake Co-Op Service Centre in Saskatchewan 1,300km away from where police are now concentrating the search for the pair in Gillam, Manitoba.
The teenagers were at the store a week after they are believed to have killed Mr Fowler and Ms Deese 1,600km away just south of Liard River Hot Springs in British Columbia.
It is also just two days after they are also believed to have killed Mr Dyck in Dease Lake.
The footage shows McLeod, bearded in a T-shirt walking around the aisles ahead of Schmegelsky, who is wearing camouflage clothing.
Both are walking slowly browsing the shelves seemingly without any concerns.
The paid did not appear to have bought anything as they are seen exiting the store.
The manager of the store said: "I'm not allowed to say anything about this. We're leaving all comments to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police."
Police now believe the teenagers may have left the Gillam area possibly with the help of unsuspecting members of the public, and they have warned all Canadians to be on alert.