RCMP divers conduct underwater search in Nelson River after damaged rowboat found

Boat was in lower Limestone rapids, about 13 kilometres from burned car driven by B.C. homicide suspects Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky that was found July 22

Manitoba RCMP sent its underwater recovery team (URT) to the Gillam area Aug. 3 to search a section of the Nelson River after a rowboat was found about 13 kilometres from the burned Toyota RAV4 driven by B.C. homicide suspects Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky that was found July 22.

The Globe & Mail reported that the boat was green, aluminum and flat-bottomed and that a red-and-white water container was found near it. An RCMP inspector said it had been through the rapids and was significantly damaged. It was found near in the lower Limestone rapids, an area that had last been searched by air three our four days ago. RCMP are trying to determine if the boat belonged to anyone in the area and if the area where it was found it is safe for divers to enter.

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The RCMP said in an Aug. 5 press release that the URT completed their work and that they will not be conducting any additional dives. 

A police roadblock was also put in place Aug. 5 in the Sundance, Manitoba area for ongoing search efforts.

Even though the search for McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, in Northern Manitoba is scaling down, police will not end their manhunt until there is a resolution, Manitoba RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said at a July 31 press conference in Winnipeg.

RCMP began searching the area of Gillam and Fox Lake Cree Nation after the Rav4 was found abandoned and burned near the communities July 22. They established two confirmed sightings in the area before that time but have not been able to confirm any sightings since, despite a daylong intensive search in York Landing July 28-29 after a Winnipeg Bear Clan Patrol member said he saw two people matching the suspects’ descriptions at the community’s dump.

McLeod and Schmegelsky are wanted in connection with the killings of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese, found dead on the Alaska Highway in B.C. July 15, and have been charged with second-degree murder in the death Leonard Dyck of Vancouver, whose body was found south of Dease Lake, B.C. July 19. Dyck’s body was discovered about two kilometres from a burnt-out truck that McLeod and Schmegelsky had been driving when they left Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, ostensibly on the way to Alberta to look for work.

CBC and other media reported that the pair had been briefly questioned by Tataskweyak Cree Nation band constables after not stopping at a drug and alcohol checkstop at the entrance to the dry First Nation July 22, the day before they were identified as suspects in the three homicides. The Toyota was found that evening.

Manitoba RCMP said July 25 that they believed McLeod and Schmegelsky were still in the Gillam area, based the confirmed sightings and the fact that no vehicles in the area had been reported stolen.

Anyone who spots McLeod and Schmegelsky should call Gillam RCMP at 204-652-2200, Thompson RCMP at 204-677-6911 or 911 or their local police in other areas. Updates on the search will be provided via Manitoba RCMP's social media feeds on Twitter and Facebook as well as on their website.

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