By Agence France-Presse
Canadian police on Monday said they have not found two murder suspects in an area of northern Manitoba they had searched for 24 hours after receiving a tip on the teenagers’ possible location.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Sunday announced they had sent numerous officers to the indigenous community of York Landing to investigate a possible sighting of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, who are suspects in three murders.
The Royal Canadian Air Force also assisted, but “after a thorough & exhaustive search, #rcmpmb has not been able to substantiate the tip in York Landing,” Manitoba RCMP said on Twitter.
They are suspects in the killing of Lucas Fowler, 23, of Australia, and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, who were found shot to death alongside the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs in northern British Columbia two weeks ago.
The Australian victim’s father is a senior police inspector in New South Wales.
McLeod and Schmegelsky have been formally charged in a third murder, of Leonard Dyck, 64, a Canadian biology professor, whose body police found later also in northern British Columbia.
Police on July 23 identified the two suspects — who are from the Vancouver Island community of Port Alberni — and warned they are considered dangerous.
The fugitives wound up in the Gillam region, more than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) north of the Manitoba capital Winnipeg, after driving more than 1,864 miles across two other provinces from British Columbia.
Gillam was the manhunt’s focus until a member of a First Nations patrol in York Landing reported on Sunday that he had seen “two tall, slender individuals” moving quickly near the water treatment plant in the community of 500.
“They fit the description of what was given in the RCMP report,” Travis Bighetty, of the Bear Clan patrol, told public broadcaster CBC.
York Landing is 127 miles southwest of Gillam, but is only accessible by plane or boat.
CBC showed images of officers in tactical gear searching the area, where they told residents to stay locked in their homes.
The region is particularly inhospitable, with wild animals including wolves and bears, and swampy areas infested with mosquitos.
Although the tip did not pan out, “RCMP resources will continue to be in the York Landing & Gillam areas,” Manitoba RCMP said.