The manhunt for 18-year old Bryer Schmegelsky and 19-year old Kam McLeod rages on. Their alleged murder of one couple and University professor has provoked a high-profile RCMP investigation that spurs stories of its own.
From book-writing to Nazi paraphernalia, and an environment so dangerous it strikes fear even into the heart of locals. These are five elements of the search for McLeod and Schmegelsky that you need to know.
1. Schmegelsky’s father has already written a book
Alan Schmegelsky, the father of 18-year old Bryer, has written a 132-page book to shed light on the events that shaped his son’s life. Surprisingly, the book comes only a week after his son was implicated in three killings. Schmegelsky sent his book to reporters’ after deciding not to self-publish because of his unwillingness to make profits from the story. The book is not wholly based on real-life events, and the pages are mixed with truth and fiction. In it, the father describes his mental health issues and harassment convictions, and his attempts to raise a son through personal turmoil.
2. A citizen patrol group located the suspects
This will be the first time members of the Bear Clan Patrol travel to areas like Fox Lake and York Landing, where the teenagers have been spotted. The Bear Clan Patrol is housed in Winnipeg, usually surveilling the inter-city area, but is making the trip up to act as “ambassadors” to the RCMP, as it continues its investigation. The mandate for the indigenous-led crime prevention group comes after the acting grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs asked for “some teams to provide security for some of the First Nations that don’t have RCMP service.” The Bear Clan Patrol’s diligent efforts have led to the most recent tip that McLeod and Schmegelsky are near the Cree community of York Landing.
3. The dangerous Manitoba wilderness
“If you don’t have the means to be in there, you’re not going to make it,” commented a fireman who handled the wooded area where Schmegelsky and McLeod were believed to be travelling through, after their vehicle was found in Gillam, Manitoba. The bug spray the boys would require for their journey into the mosquito-infested forest, the sense to avoid poisonous mushrooms, and the wit to not drown in dangerous peat moss, hinted at low chances of survival. There is no path in the forest, meaning it is easy to get lost in circles as hunger and fatigue kicks in. Yet, the fugitive pair may have avoided the experience if reports of their recent siting 90 kilometers southwest in the Cree community York Landing.
4. Heat sensors and high-powered cameras
July 27, CBC reported the arrival of the Canadian military into Gillam. The military has clarified that the effort to find Schmegelsky and McLeod will remain RCMP-led. However, that has not stopped them from shocking local residents by bringing in the CC-130H Hercules aircraft. The aircraft will help survey the dense forest and waterways. It is equipped with high-powered cameras that may prove useful in finding the fugitive friends. The Hercules will be assisted by drones carrying heat sensors.
5. Schmegelsky’s apparent fascination with Nazism
Photos released by The Globe and Mail, show 18-year old Bryer Schmegelsky wearing a gas mask, and another of a Hitler Youth knife he allegedly owned. Schmegelsky’s praising of Hitler forced an old video-game friend to apparently discontinue their relationship. These reports are particularly disturbing considering the violent nature that old classmates of Schmegelsky from seventh grade and before, have disclosed. Although his father does not believe his son to have been a Nazi sympathizer, older Schmegelsky has said he believes Bryer will go out in a “blaze of glory.”