Police reduce the hunt for two fugitive teenagers suspected of killing three people in Canada after arguing that the pair are dead or have left the area where they were last seen.
Police and others have searched for Kam McLeod (19) and Bryer Schmegelsky (18) in a remote and rugged part of northern Manitoba for the past nine days.
They used helicopters, drones, boats and dogs to search around 4,200 square miles of tundra, muskeg and dense forests.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Wednesday that they were now phasing out but did not stop their search for the teenagers.
& # 39; For clarity, we do not end the search, & # 39; said Jane MacLatchy, assistant commissioner of Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
& # 39; I know today's news is not what the families of the victims and communities of North Manitoba wanted to hear.
& # 39; But when looking for people in vast, remote and rugged locations, it's always possible that they won't find themselves immediately. & # 39;
McLeod and Schmegelsky are suspected of killing the American Chynna Deese, 24, her 23-year-old Australian friend Lucas Fowler and Vancouver botany professor Leonard Dyck two weeks ago in a murder in British Columbia.
Police and others have been looking for Kam McLeod (19) and Bryer Schmegelsky (18) in a remote and rugged part of northern Manitoba for the past nine days.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Wednesday that they were phasing out but did not stop their search for the teenagers after the intense search had found no trace of them
The next week there will be a phased withdrawal of RCMP and military personnel and assets from the Gillam area, about 660 miles north of Winnipeg, where a burned vehicle of the suspects was found last week.
MacLatchy would not say how many officers will remain involved in the search.
Military planes that helped with the search have also been withdrawn. A number of tactical and specialized resources remain in the Gillam area and the police are ready to return if necessary, according to MacLatchy.
It is after police sources have expressed concern that the two fugitives might shoot at the planes that were looking for them.
Police have expressed concern that two fugitive teenagers suspected of killing three people in Canada could shoot at the planes they are looking for.
Sources told Canada CTV news that the use of some civilian pilots in the search had given rise to safety concerns because they were not trained to respond to dangerous situations.
Former Commissioner of Ontario Provincial Police, Chris Lewis, said police pilots are trained to take evasive action if someone shoots at them.
It is not uncommon for civilian pilots to assist the police in search and rescue missions because they have knowledge of the local environment. But Lewis said civil pilots are not used to looking for armed people on the spot. RCMP helicopters involved in the search also have infrared cameras for the night with which civil aircraft would not be equipped.
This map shows the movements of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, since the murders took place two weeks ago
Police say the hunt for teenagers will go back to focus on the remote town of Gillam, about 55 miles away, where a vehicle was used by the suspects last week
The RCMP revealed that they had completely withdrawn from the remote city of York Landing in Manitoba on Tuesday after an intensive search revealed no sign of McLeod and Schmegelsky.
They had searched the area since Sunday, but could not confirm the possible sighting of the two teenagers, reported by members of a neighborhood watch group who say they saw the fugitives looking for a dump.
The two teenagers are wanted because of the murder of the American Chynna Deese, 24, her 23-year-old Australian friend Lucas Fowler and professor of botany, Leonard Dyck, in Vancouver.
They are suspected of killing the three people in British Columbia two weeks ago before fleeing 1,800 miles in a stolen Toyota RAV4.
That car was burned near Gillam.
Authorities have since devoted up to 20 hours every day to searching the remote area for the boys.
Searchers have used military helicopters, drones, tracking dogs and sensor technology to track the pair.
Authorities have also been visiting door-to-door house seekers in their homes and looking for abandoned buildings hoping to find the pair or find clues.
They have now searched 500 houses in the town of Gillam.
Officials have warned that McLeod and Schmegelsky could succumb to the rough terrain before the police even found them, given the threats of polar bears, grizzly bears and blood-sucking insects.
While searching the area consisting of dense bush, forest and wetlands, officers have already encountered at least one polar bear and are looking for grizzly bears, black bears and wolves.
There are also ruthless blood-sucking deer flies, mosquitoes, sand flies and other insects in the area.
The area around Gillam, Manitoba, consists of dense bush, forest and wetlands. It has prompted officials to warn that teenagers may perish before they are even found by the police
Searchers have used military helicopters, drones, tracking dogs and sensor technology to track the pair
Police warned that there were polar bears near the area they were looking for and said that the threat of an attack had become a reality. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Saturday distributed a photo (above) of a polar bear found by seekers near Gillam
The police had previously signaled the possibility that the teenagers had escaped from the city of Gillam on a slow-moving train or by taking a ride with an unsuspecting passer-by before news of the manhunt hit the area.
Clint Sawchuk, the operator of Nelson River Adventures in Gillam, said he believes they probably walked along a railway line or jumped on a freight train that runs west from Gillam to York Landing.
& # 39; I said from the start, the only way to leave Gillam is to walk the railroad or travel over water, & # 39; he said.
He said it was logical for him that after a week in the wilderness the duo would be desperately searching for food – no matter how rancid – at the garbage dump in York Landing, desperately searching for food.
Members of the Bear Clan, a native community police group, saw two tall, skinny men at the landfill. The men fled into the wilderness after they were seen. The locals wonder why the two men would flee if they were not the fugitives.
Sawchuk downplayed the odds that McLeod and Schmegelsky were being attacked by wild animals while hiding in bushland, especially as they headed west, away from Hudson Bay.
& # 39; They are going the wrong way for polar bears and grizzly bears, & # 39; he said. & # 39; If they were on their way to the east coast, they would have been sewn. & # 39;
They are wanted because of the murders of the American Chynna Deese (24) and her 23-year-old Australian friend Lucas Fowler (left), and Vancouver botany professor Leonard Dyck (right).
But he said there are many other dangers and obstacles.
& # 39; There is swamp and heavy bushes, & # 39; he said. & # 39; You can walk through it, but it's slow and you can get to your knees in the swamp and we've just had rain, so the mosquitoes are at full speed and the sand flies are still out. & # 39 ;
McLeod and Schmegelsky – old school friends – have been on the run since the bodies of Sydney backpacker Lucas Fowler and his North Carolina girlfriend Chynna Deese were discovered on a highway in Liard Hot Springs in British Columbia on July 15.
The old Fowler and Deese Chevrolet broke down on the Alaska Highway and left them behind. Their bodies riddled with bullets were found in a ditch near the van.
The body of the botanist Leonard Dyck from the University of British Columbia was found four days later and 300 miles away in Dease Lake. His body was found dead on another highway near a car whose suspects probably burned.
The teenagers are accused of second-degree murder at the death of Dyck.
The duo then drove more than 1,800 miles east to the province of Manitoba in a stolen RAV 4.
The Toyota was crashed a week ago in a ditch of a sharp turn on a dirt road just outside of Gillam. It seems that the teenagers lost control of the vehicle.
It was set on fire and then abandoned, left with camping gear. They probably escaped in bushland.
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