Spikes in tips related to the B.C. murder suspects have flooded the Ontario Provincial Police, suggesting—but not yet confirming—that the two young men may have migrated from Manitoba to Ontario, reports the CBC.
“Police said Friday the reports have come in from across the province, and investigators cannot confirm at this time whether any of the sightings are, in fact, of 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky and 19-year-old Kam McLeod,” writes The Canadian Press’s Paola Loriggio.
However, many tips over the past weeks have gone unconfirmed and police are worried that intentionally spreading misinformation on social media may be a factor.
“We are aware of misinformation related to the murder suspects via social media and ask the public to refrain from spreading rumours,” say Greater Sudbury Police.
“Any confirmed sightings will be shared through GSPS social media sites. We urge the community to rely on the GSPS social media/website as their trusted source of info. Should any sighting be confirmed, we will issue a community notification immediately.”
Due to the sudden influx of new tips, the OPP has assembled an investigative team with the hopes some may lead to more substantial evidence and the long-awaited arrest of Schmegelsky and McLeod.
According to Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne, more than 30 tips were sent to the OPP in an 8-hour period last Thursday.
“The more information [there is], it makes it easier for us to follow up on … We can’t dismiss it either if it’s vague or doesn’t have enough content but it may take us longer to filter through and try to figure out was there any merit into this tip,” says Dionne.
“We really don’t want to discourage people from continuing to report because it could be that one tip that might be legitimate, that might be a true sighting.”
She went on to say that the ongoing investigation and public nature of the case has riled up the public who may be worried that “they could show up in my backyard,” and caused them to be significantly more vigilant.
The two suspects have been on the road for a prolonged period. It’s likely they’re very desperate and possibly armed. The two have been charged with the murder of Leonard Dyck and are the primary suspects in the double homicide that ended the lives of Australian Lucas Fowler and American Chynna Deese.
Police are still asking for any tips which may lead to their arrests.