Canadian police say they believe two fugitives suspected of killing an American woman and her Australian boyfriend as well as another man died in what appears to be suicides.
The Manitoba Medical Examiner completed the autopsies and confirmed on Monday that the bodies found last week were indeed 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky. Both were found in dense bush in northern Manitoba.
McLeod and Schmegelsky were charged with second-degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia botany lecturer Leonard Dyck and were suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina, whose bodies were found 15 July along the Alaska Highway about 300 miles (500km) from where Dyck was killed.
A manhunt for the pair had spread across three provinces and included the Canadian military. The suspects had not been seen since the burned-out car was found on 22 July.
The bodies were found near Gillam, Manitoba. A police helicopter initially spotted a damaged boat along the Nelson River last week and a follow-up search in the area uncovered the items directly linked to the two in what was described as very tough terrain.
The separate discoveries of the three bodies the teens were believed to have killed shook rural northern British Columbia.
Schmegelsky’s father, Alan Schmegelsky, said earlier that he expected the nationwide manhunt to end in the death of his son, who he said was on “a suicide mission”.
McLeod and Schmegelsky grew up together on Vancouver Island and worked together at a local Walmart before they set off together on what their parents thought was a trip to Yukon for work.
McLeod and Schmegelsky themselves were originally considered missing persons and only became suspects later.
Police were investigating a photograph of Nazi paraphernalia allegedly sent online by one of the suspects. Schmegelsky allegedly sent photographs of a swastika armband and a Hitler Youth knife to an online friend on the video-game network Steam.
Alan Schmegelsky had said his son took him to an army surplus store about eight months ago in his small Vancouver Island hometown of Port Alberni, where his son was excited about the Nazi artefacts.
Alan Schmegelsky said he didn’t believe that his son identified as a neo-Nazi, but that he did think the memorabilia was “cool”.
Fowler and Deese were found shot dead along the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, British Columbia.
Fowler, the son of a chief inspector with the New South Wales police department, was living in British Columbia and Deese was visiting him.
The couple had met at a hostel in Croatia and their romance blossomed as they adventured across the US, Mexico, Peru and elsewhere, Deese’s older brother said. British Deese said the couple was on a trip to visit Canadian national parks when they were killed. He said the family believes they must have had engine trouble in their van.
• In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.