Canada killings: police say teen suspects may be in disguise

Bryan Schmegelsky (left) and Kam McLeod have been missing since last FridayImage copyright RCMP

Canadian police say two teenagers suspected of killing three people may have managed to evade law enforcement again with the aid of disguises.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were last seen near the remote northern community of Gillam, Manitoba.

More than three dozen officers descended onto the tiny town, believing they were hiding in the woods.

Police now say the pair may have been helped by a civilian who did not recognise them to leave the area.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) will be canvassing the community door-to-door to see if anyone has any leads that could help locate the suspects.

The nationwide manhunt for the pair has sparked several online rumours and left the small community of Gillam, with a population of about 1,300, on edge.

Police have deployed a drone, dozens of officers and a crisis negotiation team, to help bring the manhunt to a “successful resolution”.

“We don’t want anyone else to be hurt here, including Kam or Bryer. We want the opportunity for them to face a fair judicial process,” Sgt. Janelle Shoihet told media on Thursday.

What can a negotiator do?

Clint Van Zandt, a former criminal profiler and hostage negotiator with the FBI, says that the most important thing for any crisis negotiator to remember is that anything could happen.

“These two could change at a moments notice – they could change and come out and surrender, or they could change and come out shooting,” he told the BBC.

Van Zandt, who was one of the negotiators during the 51-day siege in Waco, Texas, likens his job as a negotiator as to that of a “fisherman”.

“You don’t just go fishing with one worm… you’ve got a whole tackle box of psychological lures.”

The biggest lure, he said, is to give them hope for their future, no matter what they did in their past. To do that, he says it is vital to do as much background research on the suspects as possible.

“If they’ve got a dog, then I want to know about the dog,” he said.

“As negotiators, we’ll talk about anything to keep people talking, because if they’re talking then they’re not shooting.”

What are they accused of?

Mr Schmegelsky and Mr McLeod have been charged with the second-degree murder of 64-year old Leonard Dyck.

His body was found burned near the pair’s burnt-out camping van in northern British Columbia last Friday. They are also suspected of killing Australian-American couple Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese, who exploring the area too.

The two young men have travelled some 3,300km (2,000 miles) east since the murders.

RCMP say a car the pair had been spotted driving was found burning near Gillam on Monday. No other cars have since been reported stolen, which leads them to suspect the pair may be hiding in the woods nearby.

“We believe they are still in the area,” said Cpl Julie Courchaine.

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