Answers could still come in northern B.C. homicides, retired Mountie says

The RCMP have said it will be difficult to determine a motive in the McLeod and Schmegelsky case

Investigators should be able to provide some answers about three homicides in northern British Columbia even though two suspects in the case are believed to be dead, says a former RCMP assistant commissioner.

The manhunt for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, from Port Alberni, B.C., ended Wednesday when two bodies were found in dense brush in northern Manitoba.

Mounties have said it could be difficult to determine a motive if the suspects can’t be interviewed.

Peter German, who retired from the RCMP in 2012, said it will be hard, but there is already some key evidence available that speaks to motive.

“At least one of the individuals seemed to be highly influenced by violent video games,” he said. “His father has spoken publicly about what he believed would happen — death, suicide, going out in a blaze of glory.

“That all goes to motive.”

McLeod and Schmegelsky were suspects in the killings of Leonard Dyck, a university lecturer from Vancouver, and American tourist Chynna Deese and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler. The bodies of the three were found in mid-July near highways in northern B.C.

READ MORE: Outcome of search for B.C. fugitives ‘absolutely devastating’: Alberni mayor

Police initially treated McLeod and Schmegelsky as missing persons when their charred vehicle was found not far from Dyck’s body. The pair had told family and friends they were leaving home to find work.

But investigators later deemed them to be suspects and details surfaced about their use of video games. One account showed Schmegelsky was a frequent player of a shooting game called “Russia Battlegrounds,” and both young men’s Facebook pages were connected to an account with a modified Soviet flag as its icon.

RCMP also said they were investigating a photograph of Nazi paraphernalia sent to another user by Schmegelsky, who was also pictured in military fatigues brandishing an airsoft rifle and wearing a gas mask.

During the manhunt, Alan Schmegelsky told The Canadian Press that his son had a troubled upbringing and the father said he expected the young men wanted ”to go out in a blaze of glory.”

German said investigators will look at the suspects’ social media accounts, any written documents and communication with family and friends.

“It’s surprising in this day and age with social media what you can find.”

The tougher problem, he said, will be determining why the suspects did what they did in the sequence they did.

It may also be difficult to determine why they ended up in Gillam, he said.

“Did they have some sort of a plan that flowed from a video game that they end up in northern Manitoba? What was the next step for them?”

The autopsies, which are being done in Winnipeg, could provide some answers about when and how they died.

German said the work in Manitoba will be complete once those results are available and officers are finished collecting any remaining evidence there, and police in B.C. will continue the investigation.

“At the end of the day, they will I’m sure provide some sort of a briefing to the public and certainly to the families to inform them of what has taken place.”

Sam Johnson said he hopes there are answers for the three families.

The southern Alberta resident is still waiting for answers after his ex-wife, Jane Johnson, and eight-year-old daughter, Cathryn, were found dead in their Turner Valley home in 1996. It was initially believed they died from smoke inhalation, but an autopsy revealed Jane, who was pregnant, had been stabbed to death.

No one has been charged in the case.

“Obviously I’d like to know why and, of course, you’d like to see the people punished.”

After experiencing so much grief, he said, it’s important for families to get some justice.

“I feel horrible for the relatives of the victims (in B.C.) … it’s senseless violence with no reason,” said Johnson.

“Somebody should pay when they affect your life that badly and that dramatically.”

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Manitoba Manhunt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Best of the City: This year’s winners

Nanaimo News Bulletin presents full results of our 2020 Best of the City readers’ survey

Nanaimo under a thunderstorm watch tonight

Environment Canada forecasts downpour and possible thunder and lightning

B.C. Greens hurrying to get candidates in place for provincial election

No candidates announced yet in Nanaimo, Nanaimo-North Cowichan or Parksville-Qualicum

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

Masks and temperature checks now mandatory to enter Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Mall says it’s the first in B.C. to put the measures in place

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site at Duke Point

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Snuneymuxw, province sign land transfer agreement that includes parts of Mount Benson

First Nation sees economic development opportunities through forestry partnerships

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Most Read