Canadian police said Wednesday they had discovered the bodies of two men believed to be fugitive teens who allegedly murdered three people last month — ending a nearly three-week nationwide manhunt.
Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were wanted over the murders of an Australian man and his American girlfriend in their 20s, as well as of a Canadian university professor.
Initially, the pair were reported missing themselves after their car was found torched in British Columbia — but police then discovered the third body, and the Vancouver teens were named as formal suspects.
“The search is over,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Twitter, announcing the bodies had been found in dense brush in the central province of Manitoba.
Late last week, police had found items linked to the suspects on the shores of the Nelson River. They also found a battered aluminum boat.
The bodies were discovered within a kilometer (six-tenths of a mile) from where the items were found.
“At this time, we are confident that these are the bodies of the two suspects wanted in connection with the homicides in British Columbia,” RCMP spokeswoman Jane MacLatchy told a press conference.
“An autopsy is being scheduled in Winnipeg to confirm their identities and to determine their cause of death.”
The pair were wanted over the murders of Australian Lucas Fowler, 23, and American Chynna Deese, 24, who were discovered shot to death on July 15 along a highway in British Columbia.
Fowler had been living in British Columbia, local media reported, but the pair had been traveling extensively. Deese’s family told US media that the couple had embarked on a road trip through Canada.
Authorities then found the body of 64-year-old Leonard Dyck, a botany professor at the University of British Columbia.
The teens led police on a more than 3,000-kilometer (1,860-mile) chase halfway across the vast country to Manitoba province, where they ended up in the area near the village of Gillam.
Police deployed tracker dogs, a drone and search planes to comb the difficult, forested and swampy terrain, which was infested with mosquitos and home to bears and wolves.
“There is obviously a certain amount of relief that we were able to locate these people,” MacLatchy told reporters.
Experts said McLeod and Schmegelsky, who were childhood friends, would have struggled to survive over the long term.
“To the families of everyone affected by the series of events over the last few weeks, I know it has been so very difficult and I hope today’s announcement can begin to bring some closure,” MacLatchy said.