The Royal Canadian Air Force joined the hunt for Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod, the two men wanted in connection with the murder of Australian man Lucas Fowler, as authorities searched abandoned buildings and dense Manitoba wilderness inhabited by polar bears.
The triple-murder suspects have been on the run since July 19, when their burning vehicle was discovered near the body of 64-year-old Leonard Dyck — just days after the bodies of Mr Fowler, 23, from Sydney and his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese, 24, were discovered on a highway in British Columbia.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has been scouring northern Manitoba, where a second burnt-out car was found on Tuesday.
A Royal Canadian Air Force CC-130H Hercules plane has since arrived in the area to help with the search, while RCMP officers check inside homes and buildings in the Gillam area, as well as an Indigenous reserve known as Fox Lake Cree Nation.
Gillam, a town of 1,300 people on the Nelson River in northeast Manitoba, is surrounded by thousands of hectares of forest wilderness and has been described as “the end of the road”.
“Over 100 empty homes have been thoroughly searched in the Town of Gillam,” RCMP Manitoba said in a statement.
During an aerial search for the suspects about 200 kilometres north of Gillam on Sunday, authorities encountered a polar bear, cautioning that it was “just some of the wildlife that can be found in northern Manitoba”.
According to police, there have been no new sightings of Mr Schmegelsky or Mr McLeod that would indicate they had fled the area.
However, investigators remained “open to the possibility”, and were urging anyone who may have inadvertently provided assistance to the suspects to come forward.