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Family, friends mourn Australian killed in northern B.C. as Manitoba community waits for answers in manhunt

Last Updated Aug 2, 2019 at 8:04 am MST

Lucas Robertson Fowler and Chynna Noelle Deese were found dead by the side of a highway in northeaster B.C. on Monday, July 15, 2019. (Source: BC RCMP)

GILLAM, Mb. (NEWS 1130) – As the manhunt continues for two B.C. murder suspects across Canada, the people living around Gillam, Manitoba — where much of the search has been focused — are expected to gather at a town hall.

Mounties, the community’s mayor and council, as well as the chief and council of the Fox Lake Cree Nation, will answer any questions they can about the recent police activity and search for Kam McLeod, 19 and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18.

The town hall comes just days after the RCMP announced search efforts were being scaled back in Manitoba. The pair — accused of second-degree murder and considered suspects in two other deaths in northern B.C. — have managed to evade capture for nearly two weeks.

BC RCMP say McLeod and Schmegelsky are considered dangerous. (RCMP handout)

Meantime, as the community of Gillam prepares to gather, it was a day of mourning in Australia as the funeral for one of the three people killed in northern B.C. was held.

Lucas Fowler, 23, was found dead with his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese, 24, along the Alaska Highway on July 15.

At the memorial service, his father said he was happy Fowler and Deese had found each other, and recalled all the moments the pair spent travelling and living life to the fullest with one another.

Stephen Fowler said Lucas didn’t just dream, but worked hard to make those dreams a reality.

Search continues

Schmegelsky and McLeod are charged with second-degree murder in the death of UBC sessional lecturer Leonard Dyck near Dease Lake, B.C. Dyck’s body was found just days after Mounties reported the deaths of Fowler and Deese, about 470 kilometres away.

While much of the search had been focused on northern Manitoba, the manhunt appeared to have moved east, with possible sightings reported in parts of northern Ontario.

However, the Ontario Provincial Police service said on Thursday that despite dozens of calls, investigators have not been able to confirm any of the sightings.

“The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently investigating numerous reports from across the province of suspicious vehicles and or young males believed to be the British Columbia homicide suspects,” the OPP reiterated on Friday. “Members of the public should be vigilant of their personal safety at all time. These two suspects are considered dangerous. If observed, do not approach them and call police immediately.”

With the search scaled back in Manitoba and Ontario police turning up no leads — yet — police are encouraging all Canadians to be on the lookout.

Police and the military combed more than 11,000 square kilometres of marshy wilderness near the community of Gillam, but turned up nothing.

A number of officers remain in the rural community.

-With files from Dean Recksiedler