One of the teenagers suspected of killing three people in northern British Columbia fantasized about acting out his violent video games in reality and wore Swastika-emblazoned clothing, a friend of the family exclusively told DailyMail.com.
Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and his long-time friend Kam McLeod, 19, were named as suspects in the murders of Australian man Lucas Fowler, 24, and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, 23, as well as an older man last week, and have driven more than 1,100 miles on the run from Canadian police.
Lisa Lucas, a neighbor of Schmegelsky’s grandmother in their hometown of Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, said her son used to play with the suspected murderer when the two boys were in junior high together.
But Schmegelsky lost friends when he started making them ‘feel uncomfortable’, after showing them pictures of him wearing a Nazi armband and telling them how he imagined playing out shooter games in reality, Lucas said.
Bryer Schmegelsky – one of the teenagers suspected of killing three people in northern British Columbia – fantasized about acting out his violent video games in reality and wore Swastika-emblazoned clothing
Schmegelsky is believed to have lost friends when he started making them ‘feel uncomfortable’, after showing them pictures of him wearing a Nazi armband (pictured) and telling them how he imagined playing out shooter games in reality
Lisa Lucas (pictured), Schmegelsky’s grandmother’s neighbor, said her son used to play with Schmegelsky but he lost friends when he started making people ‘feel uncomfortable’. Lucas said he would talk a lot about violent video games and showed off pictures of him wearing a Nazi armband
Lucas said: ‘After a while he started making people feel uncomfortable, just with the comments that he would make and how much he was into video games, a little bit more on the violent side of the video games. Bryer seemed to take it very seriously,’ said the mother-of-four, who is friends with the Schmegelsky family.
‘My son told me that he would mention things like ”what if this was real? Can you imagine if this was real?” when playing video games. He’d get a little too excited about it.’
‘[My son] said everybody just got a little bit uncomfortable around him. He seemed to have less and less friends as time went on, later into junior high.’
Police released a composite sketch of a man whose body was found around one mile south of burnt-out truck belonging to teenagers. They are suspected in his death too
Lucas described Schmegelsky as ‘very pale’, ‘shy’ and ‘polite’, saying he was friends with the unpopular ‘oddball’ group in school and revealed the teen dropped out of middle school for a period before going back and graduating last year.
‘I just always noticed he was very pale and very quiet. He was always polite but he didn’t like to hang around with the parents. He liked to hang around with the kids. So he was just very shy,’ she said.
‘They were the oddball group, they weren’t the popular group. So they all just hung out – oddballs stick together.’
Lucas said she was astounded and dismayed when she heard first of the boys’ disappearance,and then of their status as suspects in a string of killings and carjackings.
‘I’m completely surprised. If he is guilty, the thought of having had that kid in my house, it shocks me. I just can’t imagine those kids that young deciding to do this. I wish we could have some answers and I just wish it wasn’t true,’ she said.
Lucas added: ‘I can’t imagine what [the Schmegelsky family] is going through and what they’re feeling. I know that when these sort of things go on that it seems like the family members are getting blamed, but these kids are 18 and 19 and they’re making their own decisions.
‘They’re not under mom and dad’s thumb any more. They are who they are, so I don’t feel like the family should be blamed at all.’
Schmegelsky is one of the suspects in the murders of an Australian backpacker Lucas Fowler, 24, and Chynna Deese, 23, his American girlfriend, whose bodies were found in British Columbia on July 15. Pictured: The couple in the Grand Canyon
McLeod, 19, (left) and Schmegelsky, 18, (right) were spotted on Monday in Manitoba by a gas clerk who says they asked her where they could drink alcohol. She did not know at the time they were involved
This map plots the teenagers’ movements over the last few days and where the murders took place last week
Lucas said her son Rylan was friends with Bryer for about two years after the boys started middle school in 2011, but stopped hanging out together after being put off by Bryer’s behavior.
‘Rylan said Bryer just gave off a weird kind of vibe. He made him feel uncomfortable,’ she said. ‘I think it came down to him only having a couple of close friends, like Kam.’
Lucas said Rylan, 19, was surprised at one point to see Schmegelsky posting Swastikas online.
‘My son told me that on his social media [Schmegelsky] did have a Swastika. I don’t know if that means as much to the kids these days as it does to older people. He does remember seeing the Nazi symbol on his social media.
‘My son’s a big gamer too, but it’s not his life. It seems some kids just get sucked into that and that’s their life.’
A friend who played online video games with Schmegelsky told Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail that the teen sent him pictures of himself wearing military fatigues holding an Airsoft rifle and other photos of himself wearing a gas mask and showing a Swastika armband similar to the uniform worn by Nazi officers.
The gamer, who asked the newspaper to remain anonymous, said he stopped playing video games with Schmegelsky after he repeatedly praised Hitler’s Germany.
Bryer is shown, left, in a recent social media picture clutching a bottle of vodka and with Kam, right, in a profile pic
Schmegelsky’s father told local news site Chek News that Schmegelsky and McLeod worked together in Walmart (pictured) on the outskirts of the small town for about five weeks before they left, saying they were going to Alberta to find better paying work
Schmegelsky’s father told local news site Chek News that Schmegelsky and McLeod worked together in Walmart on the outskirts of the small town for about five weeks before they left, saying they were going to Alberta to find better paying work.
Lucas said she met McLeod about two months ago at Walmart.
‘He had the nicest smile and he just looked like a normal kid. I remember he was just so tall, because they both ended up being such tall kids.
‘It makes me feel sick to my stomach. I didn’t sleep last night and I get very emotional. I’m sad for the victims. My oldest kids are their age and it’s heartbreaking for everybody. I just want it to end.’
Lucas gave a message on camera for her son’s former friend, pleaded with him to turn himself in.
‘I just hope that you’re okay, and I hope that you do the right thing and turn yourself in. Your family’s really worried about you and the whole community’s really worried about you.
‘We hope you guys are safe. Just come forward, talk to the police, and please you have to stop this nonsense.’
BRITISH COLUMBIA BACKPACKER FEARS: A TIMELINE
July 15: At 7.19am, Royal Mounted Canadian Police are called to the side of the road on the Alaska Highway, in remote British Columbia.
Police found the bodies of a young man and young woman about 20km south of the Liard Hot Springs, not far from a beat-up blue minivan.
July 16: Police publicly announce the two bodies were found dead on the side of Highway 97 but say ‘no further information is available’
July 17: Investigators ask anyone who may have seen, or have dashcam footage, between 4pm Sunday and 8am Monday to come forward
July 18: Detectives confirm the identities of the two dead as Lucas Fowler, 24, and Chynna Deese, 23
Some 470km away near Dease Lake, police discover an abandoned truck and find the body of a man
July 21: Witness tells media of seeing a ‘bearded man’ having a ‘heated exchange’ with Fowler and Deese on the side of the highway
July 22: Pictures emerge of Fowler and Deese’s minivan with a blown out back window
4pm: Gas store clerk in Split Lake says she served the pair
9pm: Police name McLeod and Schmegelsky but say they are missing
11.56pm: Man reports a young man hitchhiking in Manitoba
July 23: McLeod and Schmegelsky are named as suspects.
Police find burned out car in Manitoba that may belong to them.