Police released on Monday a composite sketch of the man found dead in northern B.C. near the burning vehicle of two missing Port Alberni teenagers, adding that he could be connected to a double homicide further north.
The red and grey pickup truck and camper that had been carrying Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, was discovered on fire on Highway 37 near the Stikine River Bridge, south of Dease Lake, on Friday.
|Dease Lake RCMP are looking for two Port Alberni youth associated with a red and grey Dodge camper truck that was found on fire 50 kilometres south of Dease Lake on July 19, 2019. Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are missing. (RCMP)|
McLeod and Schmegelsky were travelling through B.C. to Whitehorse to look for work and it’s “not clear why they returned to B.C.”
However, some have suggested they may have been headed to Alberta.
Police also discovered a man’s body in a highway pullout several kilometres away from the scene of the burned truck. They have put out a sketch, hoping someone can identify him.
RCMP say they have don’t know who the man found dead near the teens’ burned out truck is. Say he’s about 5’8 and with a heavy build. Asked if it’s a homicide , RCMP say an investigation is “ongoing”@BlackPressMedia pic.twitter.com/OoaNvsSqma— Kat Slepian (@katslepian) July 22, 2019
Cpl. Chris Manseau said “it’s possible” the man could be connected to a separate case 500 kilometres to the northeast, where Chynna Noelle Deese and Lucas Robertson Fowler were found dead near Liard Hot Springs on July 15.
Manseau declined to comment on the condition of the man’s body, or if police had determined a cause of death. He did not deny that there could be a connection between the deaths of the couple found near Liard Hot Springs, the dead man and the missing teens, a marked departure from last week when police said they did not believe there could be such a link.
The teens are not considered suspects, or even persons of interest, in the homicide case to the east.
The two had communicated with family phone during their travels, but no one had heard from them in several days.
Police said the boys could simply be in an area with spotty cell service, but that the burned car had police and families concerned.
They were travelling in a red and grey Dodge pickup truck with a sleeping camper and B.C. license plate LW6433, and were last seen heading south from the Super A general store in Dease Lake at around 3:15 p.m. on July 18.
“We are asking for Kam or Bryer to contact police and tell us they are okay,” said Manseau.
McLeod is described as 6’4, approximately 169 lbs., with dark brown hair, facial hair and brown eyes.
Schmegelsky is also described as 6’4, approximately 169 lbs, with sandy brown hair.
Police acknowledged public concerns about safety in the region with the “tragic and unusual” nature of Fowler and Deese’s deaths, as well as the man’s body found a few kilometres of the missing teens’ truck.
“We would like to stress the importance of heightened vigilance and awareness for anyone travelling in and around the area,” she said.
Police are encouraging travellers to camp in known and established areas, keep in contact with family and have a plan of where they are headed.