by Phil Ambroziak
As the manhunt continues for second-degree murder suspects Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky in northern Manitoba, it appears the two B.C. teens may have spent more time in Meadow Lake than originally reported.
According to an official timeline of events compiled by the Canadian Press, the duo was spotted in Cold Lake on the morning of July 21 where a local resident, not knowing who they were, helped them free the stuck Toyota Rav 4 they were driving. Later that same day they were captured on security camera footage at a store in Meadow Lake. Their presence in the local community was reinforced by an eyewitness who was in the store at the same time as the suspects (see last week’s Northern Pride). However, at that time, news of their wanted status had yet to make headlines. The following day the teens were believed to be en route east to the Gillam, MB region.
However, as it turns out, July 21 wasn’t the only day the suspects were in Meadow Lake.
“I will confirm these two individuals did stop in to my business for haircuts early Friday afternoon (July 19),” remarked the owner of a local hair salon.
For both safety and privacy reasons, the salon owner asked not to be identified by name, but added two of her employees were the ones on duty that day and who gave the two teens their haircuts.
“They (suspects) hadn’t been on the news yet, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered because I don’t think these girls (employees) pay too much attention to the news,” the owner continued. “By Monday, though, photos of these two guys were all over Facebook and that’s when one of my employees confirmed it was the same two who came in a few days earlier for haircuts. One of them also had a beard and asked for it to be cut back to a goatee.”
The employees themselves denied Northern Pride’s requests for an interview, but the salon owner said – based on recollections they shared with her – conversations with McLeod and Schmegelsky while cutting their hair led the workers to assume the duo were planning to head north toward Buffalo Narrows or La Loche.
“But, we talk to so many people all day long it’s hard to remember what everyone says,” the owner added.
Meanwhile, another eyewitness account placed the duo at a nearby restaurant around the same time.
McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, both from Port Alberni, B.C., have been charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of University of British Columbia professor Leonard Dyck. The Vancouver resident’s body was found on July 19 near Dease Lake, B.C. just two kilometres from a burned-out truck belonging to McLeod and Schmegelsky.
The pair is also wanted as suspects in the shooting deaths of American Chynna Deese and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler. Their bodies were found July 15 along the Alaskan Highway in northern B.C. The two suspects are believed to be behind their murders as well.
On July 24, RCMP confirmed another burned-out vehicle located near Gillam was indeed the Toyota Rav 4 believed to have been driven by the suspects. On July 28, police shifted their focus to York Landing, a small community 90 kilometres southwest of Gillam, after it was reported the suspects were seen at the local dump. However, in an update Tuesday (July 30), RCMP said they have moved resources out of York Landing and have pulled back to Gillam.
“What I’d like to know is, if they were in my shop that Friday and then spotted at another local business the following Sunday, where the hell were they staying those two or three days?” the salon owner stated. “Are they now backtracking? Who knows? It’s a very scary situation because you never know what they could be planning.”