Autopsies have confirmed suicide by gunfire as the cause of death of two suspected killers whose bodies were found in Canada last week.
Teenagers Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod were wanted for a highway killing spree last month that left Australian tourist Lucas Fowler, his US girlfriend Chynna Deese and botanist Leonard Dyck dead.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Tuesday said guns were found beside the pair’s bodies and confirmed the fugitives died “in what appears to be suicides”.
“While both individuals were deceased for a number of days before they were found, the exact time and date of their deaths are not known,” the RCMP said in a press release.
“However, there are strong indications that they had been alive for a few days since last seen in July and during the extensive search efforts in the Gillam area.”
The two firearms were undergoing forensic analysis to confirm whether they were also connected to the shooting deaths of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese.
Mr Fowler, 23, from Sydney, and Ms Deese, 24, from North Carolina were found dead on the side of a British Columbia highway on July 15 after their van broke down.
Four days later Mr Dyck was found dead on another BC highway and his Toyota RAV4 was stolen by the teenagers and driven 3000km east to the remote town of Gillam.
The teenagers became suspects and the manhunt ended last week when the RCMP found McLeod and Schmegelsky dead in the Gillam scrub near the banks of the Nelson River.
“The Manitoba RCMP have completed their search of the area where the two male bodies were discovered, approximately 8km from where Mr Dyck’s burnt RAV4 was located on July 22, 2019,” police said.
“The Manitoba Medical Examiner has completed the autopsies and confirmed that the two deceased men located in Manitoba on August 7, 2019 were Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky.
“Their next of kin have been notified and they have been offered support.”
On Sunday the father of one of the teenagers, Alan Schmegelsky, said in a 60 Minutes interview that he was “shocked” but needed more evidence before he truly believed his son was a murderer.
“You may think he’s a monster but he’s my son, he’s my Bryer,” Mr Schmegelsky said.
“We’ll never know the answer. Everyone’s so quick to judge… he might be a victim in all of this for all we know.”
Mr Schmegelsky admitted his son had experienced a difficult childhood comprising largely of isolation, YouTube and video games.
“He had a lot of time with very little attention given to him and I know that,” he said.
“It hurts a lot, he was my only child and I’ll never get to hug him again… a lot of parents know how I feel right now.”
But the sister of Ms Deese, Kennedy Deese, said in a post on Facebook that Mr Schmegelsky could not possibly know how her family is feeling, and hit out at him for making excuses for his killer son.
“We are not cut from the same cloth, as you play the victim and don’t acknowledge your hand in your child’s upbringing and ultimate demise,” Ms Deese said.
“Having a dynamic upbringing and obstacles in life is not exclusive to anyone. That is the human experience, and I do not see the need to divulge my family’s to the world. We do not hinder ourselves with such excuses or proclaimed handicaps in life.
“Your sorrow is for yourself. The proper public response would have been a genuine apology. But we still forgive you and have mercy.”
An item of interest was found near the bodies in Gillam.
The RCMP has not revealed what the item found in the vicinity was.