Please catch ‘these evil, evil boys’
CANADIAN police have reduced air patrols in their search for the fugitive teens wanted for the murder of Australian backpacker Lucas Fowler and two others but they insist the pair could still be alive and hiding nearby.
It comes as the mother of Mr Fowler's girlfriend Chynna Deese said she wanted police to find Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod.
"I want them caught. I want them to have consequences," Sheila Deese told Canada's Globe and Mail. "That's what so much of everything is about. The story is about Chynna and Lucas, but so much of the focus is these boys, these evil, evil boys."
Chynna Deese was due to arrive home to Charlotte, North Carolina today.
"My calendar says 'Chynna returns' but I am not driving to the airport," Ms Deese wrote on Facebook. "If I could die, I would but she wouldn't want that … Chynna and Lucas found love, shared love, and I carry that. Not hate, but peace and forgiveness."
SEARCH SCALED BACK
At a press conference , Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said they searched 11,000 sq. km. in northern Manitoba, as well as 500 homes.
"I know this news is not what the families of the victims and the people of northern Manitoba wanted to hear," Ms MacLatchy said.
"We would really like to find these suspects (and) we've pulled out all the stops on this thing ... I have no regrets."
"To be clear, we are not ending this search," Ms MacLatchy said.
The search now is focussed on the area where Kam and Bryer ditched their burned out RAV 4 more than a week ago, with officers on ATVs and dog patrols combing the dense bush land near the indigenous settlement of Fox Lake.
It’s back to square one for #canadianmanhunt searchers who are back at the original site where McLeod and Schmegelsky torched their car more than a week ago near Gillam. Updates @dailytelegraph pic.twitter.com/N43WPph6aQ— Sarah Blake (@sarahblakemedia) July 31, 2019
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector Kevin Lewis said the focus had shifted from the air to ground searches and that an Air Force Hercules was no longer performing heat scanning patrols from the air.
"We are looking at some areas we've already looked at to see if there's anything we may have missed that can help us," Insp Fowler told News Corp Australia.
More than 40 officers working out of Gillam were "rechecking areas they (the pair) may have returned to."
GOOD SAMARITAN SPEAKS OUT
Meanwhile, the suspected teens have joked about McDonald's and being on a joy ride in a newly revealed encounter.
A good Samaritan who helped Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod described them as polite and shy teenagers whom he was later shocked to learn were wanted for murder.
Alberta resident Tommy Ste-Croix's brush with the fugitives who have led more than 1000 Canadian police on a week long manhunt surfaced as authorities faced criticism over their handling of the case.
This includes not issuing a wanted alert for more than a week after the bodies of Mr Fowler and his girlfriend Chynna Deese were found beside a highway in British Columbia on July 15.
When Mr Ste-Croix came across McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, the fugitive teens' Rav 4 was stuck in a muddy field in Cold Lake, Alberta.
Mr Ste-Croix said they had been stuck about 1.5 hours when he approached to help them on the morning of Sunday July 21.
"Mum and Dad's going to be pissed," Mr Ste-Croix said he told them.
"They looked at me and said, 'No, Mum and Dad told me to go for a long joy ride".
"We chuckled … and Bryer, right after that said 'I think we missed McDonald's'. And we laughed again and I am like, 'Holy s**t you are way off McDonald's."
Mr Ste-Croix said he then explained how he would use his truck to tow them free and got them back on the road. They were next sighted in Split Lake, some 1300km away, the following day.
"You could tell they were nervous," he told CBC.
They shook hands and gave their real names and it wasn't until two days later that police issued their alert and Mr Ste-Croix realised with a shock how fortunate he had been.
"They were teens, shy teens," Mr Ste-Croix said.
"They were polite with me. You know if they really, really wanted me, I could be dead.
"My personal opinion is that they seemed like good raised kids.
"They had the opportunity to grab the truck. I was alone with them. I was behind the SUV tying it up and they pretty much had a brand new truck to take off with. My wallet was in there. But they didn't."
Chynna's brother, Stetson Deese, shared a touching video on YouTube dedicated to his sister and Lucas.