Canadian police have suggested well-meaning locals could have inadvertently helped teenage murder suspects escape as they release new CCTV of the baby-faced teens.
Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, have been on the run since July 15 when the bodies of Lucas Fowler, 24, and Chynna Deese, 23, were found in British Columbia.
They are also accused of murdering University of British Columbia botanist Leonard Dyck in BC before driving more than 3,000km east to the province of Manitoba.
The friends have been seen twice in the extremely remote town of Gillam at the start of the week and have since gone to ground, ditching the car they were travelling in and burning it.
Still on the run: Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are being hunted by Canadian police
To help generate public leads the RCMP released new security footage of McLeod and Schmegelsky walking through a supply store in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan on Sunday July 21
With one road leading into the town and no confirmed sightings of the duo outside of Gillam the Royal Canadian Mounted Police still believe the suspects remain in the area.
But RCMP Corporal Julie Courchaine said they are open to the possibility the duo may have changed their appearance or someone inadvertently helped them leave.
‘It is possible that someone may not have been aware of who they were, providing assistance to and may now be hesitant to come forward,’ she told reporters on Friday.
‘I want to reiterate the importance of contacting police immediately.’
To help generate public leads the RCMP released security video of McLeod and Schmegelsky walking through a hardware store in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan on Sunday July 21.
The footage has sparked speculation the duo were preparing to live off the wilderness for weeks, as police continue to scour the harsh landscape in the northwest pocket of Manitoba.
Police are now also preparing to go door to door to ask residents for information.
‘Over the next 72 hours, officers will conduct door to door canvases in the hopes of generating new tips.
Gillam has a population of just 1,265 which is made up mostly by the employees of a local hydro dam and their families. There is only one road leading into it and the nearest town is about 55km away.
The footage has sparked speculation the duo were preparing to live off the wilderness for weeks
Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, have been on the run since July 15 when the bodies of Lucas Fowler, 24, and Chynna Deese, 23, (pictured) were found in British Columbia
This is the remote part of Manitoba in Canada where Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod are believed to be hiding
The tiny town of Gillam (shown) has only one road leading into it which has now been blocked
Canadian police using sniffer dogs are combing the area looking for clues
It can get pretty trying to survive out there without good supplies.
Gillam Deputy Mayor John MacDonald
Police have established road blocks but the boys are not thought to have stolen another car, leading police to believe they are travelling on foot.
It is unclear what kind of supplies they have, if any, and where they are taking shelter.
Residents who say the town is surrounded by abandoned cabins now fear they may try to break into one of those, if not their own homes.
Police are searching all of the abandoned buildings that they encounter. Cpl. Cochraine said the land was ‘dense’ and ‘tough’, even for the officers.
Beyond the town, however, there is not much in the way of shelter.
‘There’s not a lot of shelter out there. You could pick a direction and walk in and hope to bump into something,’ Gillam Deputy Mayor John MacDonald said, adding: ‘It can get pretty trying to survive out there without good supplies.
‘None of us would want to be put in that situation.’
The search for the pair continued on Friday. Police shared these photographs of their efforts
Royal Canadian Mountain Police board a helicopter to look for the two teenagers on Friday
This map plots the teenagers’ movements over the last few days and where the murders took place last week
Police map their strategy to find the pair on Thursday as the hunt for them continues
The boys are now believed to be travelling on foot after torching their car (shown on Monday) after seeing their faces in the media
To try to narrow down their search, they are using drones and are likely employing infrared technology to scour the landscape for heat.
‘They don’t know where exactly these two are. They could be within feet of them and not know it.
‘It happens all the time, where police officers find themselves on a containment and at the end of the day, the suspects were within feet of them and they just couldn’t see it,’ he said.
‘If they see movement, if an infrared from the air sees a heat source that looks really good and isn’t an animal…footprints, or clothing or trash,’ Jack Schonely, a former police officer, told CBC.
Police in Manitoba have not revealed the exact size of their search perimeter and they are not fielding questions.
The enormous Hudson Bay which at the tip of northwest Manitoba. The boys’ are experienced campers, one of their father’s said, but the conditions where they are would be testing for anyone
An overhead view of the land in Manitoba is shown. Much of the province is similarly vast and sparse
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for the force said they had brought in help from other departments in western Canada and were using every means necessary to find the boys.
Bryer’s father Alan said that he believes they will be shot dead by police and that they want to ‘go out in a blaze of glory’.
He has also told how his son enjoys playing strategy-based, military style video games.
The teenager’s mother issued him an emotional plea, however, on Thursday begging him to turn himself in.
What may have driven them to commit murder remains a mystery.
The two teenagers, who are childhood friends, left Vancouver Island in search of better jobs, they told their parents.
How they encountered their alleged victims or even acquired the weapons they would have needed to kill them remains unknown.
Residents in Gillam have been warned not to approach either of the boys if they see them.
They are considered dangerous and likely are still armed.
Anyone who does see the pair has been told to call 911 or their local police department.