Deese and Fowler

Chynna Noelle Deese, left, and Lucas Robertson Fowler, right.

GILLAM, Canada – The three-week-plus manhunt for two men suspected in the murder of a 2017 Appalachian State graduate and her boyfriend in northern British Columbia appears to be finished after two bodies were discovered along a northern Manitoba river, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“The search is over,” an Aug. 7 statement from the Manitoba RCMP said. “At (11 a.m. Eastern) this morning, Manitoba RCMP officers located the bodies of two males, believed to be the BC suspects, near the shoreline of the Nelson River.”

The two men, Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, both of Port Alberni, Canada, were the prime suspects in the deaths of Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23, of Australia, and Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, of Charlotte, which took place near Liard River in British Columbia on either July 14 or 15.

“An autopsy is being scheduled in Winnipeg to confirm their identities and to determine their cause of death,” the Manitoba RCMP stated on Aug. 7.

Deese received a bachelor’s of science in psychology in spring 2017, as confirmed by ASU spokesperson Megan Hayes, and was a member of ASU’s Zeta Tau Alpha sorority chapter.

A memorial service for Deese was held on July 27 in Charlotte.

The two were exploring the area and at the location of the murders, were sitting on the side of the road near their van after the engine flooded, according to media reports.

“We can now confirm that Deese and Fowler were the victims of gun violence and the 1986 blue Chevrolet van with Alberta license plates was owned by Fowler and was being used by the couple to explore northern British Columbia,” a July 22 statement from the British Columbia RCMP stated.

McLeod and Schmegelsky were also wanted in connection with the death of Leonard Dyck, 64, of Vancouver, who was discovered on July 19 near Dease Lake in British Columbia, approximately 290 miles by car from where Fowler and Deese were found.

According to RCMP, the two suspects abandoned their truck on a northern British Columbia highway, where it was later discovered on fire on July 19, followed by a body later identified as Dyck, less than two miles away.

“Upon arrival, Dease Lake Frontline RCMP members located a pickup truck on fire, with no one located in the vehicle,” a July 19 British Columbia RCMP statement said. “At the time the vehicle fire was being investigated, a passing motorist advised the members at the still burning vehicle that they had just seen what they believed to be a body at a nearby highway pullout.”

The Aug. 7 discovery of the two bodies believed to be McLeod and Schemgelsky in northern Manitoba followed Aug. 2 leads of a burned vehicle, later confirmed to belong to Dyck, along the Nelson River near Gillam, along with a damaged boat found nearby and items directly linked to the suspects.

“Specialized RCMP teams began searching nearby high-probability areas, leading officers to the discovery of the two male bodies, in the dense brush, within (less than a mile) from where the items were found,” the Aug. 7 Manitoba RCMP statement said.

Gillam, a small town in northern Manitoba of 1,200 people, is an estimated 1,800 miles by car from Liard River and approximately 2,100 miles by car from Dease Lake.

The national manhunt followed tips in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where police and military forces searched the towns of Gillam and York Landing, plus the Cree Nation reservation at Fox Lake and the War Lake First Nation reservation in Ilford, according to the Manitoba RCMP.

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