By The Canadian Press
YORK LANDING, Man. — A massive police manhunt for two British Columbia homicide suspects has ended without success in a remote northern Manitoba Indigenous community.
Mounties have pulled their heavy police presence out of York Landing.
“RCMP is unable to substantiate the tip that the suspects had been in the area,” RCMP said in a news release Tuesday afternoon.
“The RCMP thanks the community for their patience and understanding, and continues to remind residents to remain vigilant.”
The York Landing search was triggered by a tip from the Bear Clan Patrol, an Indigenous-led neighbourhood watch group, that two men matching the descriptions of Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, were seen rummaging through the local garbage dump.
RCMP said resources will remain in Gillam, 90 kilometres northeast of York Landing, where the last confirmed sighting of the suspects occurred a week ago. The search will continue in high-probability areas on the ground and in the air.
A checkstop on the only road leading into Gillam has been removed, RCMP added.
Officers have checked more than 500 homes in Gillam and the Fox Lake Cree Nation searching for the two men. Investigators have received more than 260 tips in the past seven days but RCMP said none established that Schmegelsky and McLeod have left the Gillam area.
Mounties said the suspects may have inadvertently received help leaving.
“We continue to investigate all possibilities,” said the release.
The duo is charged with second-degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia professor Leonard Dyck near Dease Lake in northern B.C.
Police also consider them suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, whose bodies were found on the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, B.C.
RCMP, backed up by dogs, helicopters, drones, a police boat patrol and a military Hercules aircraft, tried to confirm the sighting of the suspects in York Landing.
Leroy Constant, Chief of the York Factory First Nation at York Landing, said that the RCMP started pulling out of the community late Monday.
The Bear Clan Patrol was to remain in York Landing, Constant said, and residents are asked to report any further tips or information that could help the search.
York Landing is only accessible by air or a two-hour ferry crossing in the summer. There’s also a rail line that runs 25 kilometres south of the community.
Constant had said he would be surprised if the pair made it to his community on foot because the northern terrain is treacherous.