The hunt for teen fugitives Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky has extended to the water as authorities in Canada discovered a damaged boat that some fear the pair tried using to evade capture.
A dive team was dispatched to search the Nelson River near the Manitoba town of Gillam after officers in a helicopter Friday spotted an aluminum rowboat on the shore, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.
Five members of the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team on Saturday conducted “a thorough underwater search of significant areas of interest” in the Nelson River, which is about 400 miles long and stretches between Lake Winnipeg and Hudson Bay.
It was not immediately clear what, if anything, was found during the search, which by Monday police announced had been completed.
“They will not be conducting any additional dives,” RCMP Manitoba tweeted. “A police roadblock has been put in place in the Sundance [community of Manitoba] for ongoing search efforts.”
The roadblock was lifted by Monday afternoon, the CBC reported.
Sundance is about 35 miles from Gillam, where law enforcement had previously concentrated its search efforts for McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18.
The men had managed to cross four provinces in 10 days after allegedly fatally shooting North Carolina native Chynna Deese and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, on the Alaska Highway in northern British Columbia last month. They are also accused of killing University of British Columbia professor Leonard Dyck, who was found dead near a highway pullout four days after Fowler and Deese’s bodies were discovered.
Schmegelsky and McLeod’s last known whereabouts were about a week ago, and since then, nervous residents of Gillam and the surrounding towns have taken to social media and flooded the Ontario Provincial Police with messages about abandoned vehicles and possible sightings, the National Post reported.
None of the alleged sightings have been confirmed.
“Everything is possible at this stage,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy told reporters Wednesday, noting it's possible Schmegelsky and McLeod may have had assistance leaving the area and that they could also be dead.
“The north part of the province is a very unforgiving place,” MacLatchy said. “We are keeping all possibilities in mind as we go forward.”