North America

Canadian police close in on Lucas Fowler’s suspected teen killers

0:00

Canadian authorities appear to be closing in on the two teenagers suspected of shooting dead Australian tourist Lucas Fowler and his US girlfriend Chynna Deese.

The two teenage boys who were first categorised as missing in northern Canada are now suspects in the murder of an Australian tourist and his American girlfriend, as well as an unidentified man whose body was found near the boys' abandoned flaming car, police said on Tuesday.

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky worked night shifts at a Canadian Walmart together to raise money to go on a working adventure. The teenagers also liked to play video games that simulated war, and involved hunting and camouflage.

Lucas Fowler and girlfriend Chynna Deese
Lucas Fowler and girlfriend Chynna Deese.
NSW Police

On Tuesday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police named the pair as suspects in the murderous rampage across remote northern British Columbia that included the highway shooting murders of Australian tourist Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese.

McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, from Port Alberni, near Vancouver, are also suspects in the death of a yet-to-be identified middle-aged man found lying near where the teenager's Dodge pickup truck was set alight on Friday.

A supplied image obtained on Saturday, July 20, 2019, of the van used by Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese

A massive manhunt is under way, with the teenagers last spotted driving a grey 2011 Toyota RAV4 more than 2000km away in northern Saskatchewan, a province in central Canada.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, have been missing since July 19.

"If you spot Bryer or Kam, consider them dangerous," said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Sergeant Janelle Shoihet.

"Do not approach, do not take action and call 911 immediately."

The teenage duo is considered so dangerous the RCMP said a decision to call Tuesday's press conference and go public with their concerns was "unprecedented".

McLeod and Schmegelsky were originally deemed missing but that has now changed dramatically.

The teens were first loosely connected to the murder of Mr Fowler and Ms Deese on Friday when their Dodge was found burning on a highway and a man's body was found 2km away.

This carnage took place near Dease Lake, 470km away from the Alaska Highway location near Liard Hot Springs where Mr Fowler and Ms Deese were found shot dead in a ditch.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, have been missing since July 19.
Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, have been missing since July 19.
Supplied

The distance between the two locations initially had the RCMP reluctant to link the bodies.

McLeod and Schmegelsky, who had been friends since elementary school, had worked to save for a trip north to to find work at Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. They are now considered armed and dangerous.

"Given these latest developments, Cameron and Bryer are no longer considered missing," Sgt Shoihet said.

"The RCMP are now considering Cam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky as suspects in the Dease Lake suspicious death and the double homicide of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese."

The RCMP released new, recent security camera photos of the teens in northern Saskatchewan.

Mr Fowler, 23, the son of a senior NSW police officer, and Ms Deese, 24, from North Carolina, were stranded on the highway after their blue 1986 Chevrolet van broke down on the afternoon of July 14.

Police earlier released an image of a man wanted in connection with the slayings.
Police earlier released an image of a man wanted in connection with the slayings.
Supplied

Mr Fowler and Ms Deese met two years ago backpacking in Croatia, fell in love and were on a road trip through Canada when they were murdered.

Schmegelsky's family members have offered positive descriptions of the teenagers.

His grandmother, Carol Starkey, told the Times Colonist newspaper Schmegelsky "was a great kid".

His father, Alan Schmegelsky, said his son and McLeod were "best friends who did everything together".

"They even got jobs together at Walmart," Mr Schmegelsky said.

"They were just out on an adventure."

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch