Search for suspects in murders of Charlotte woman, boyfriend moves to river

TORONTO — Canadian police started searching a river Sunday near where the two suspects accused of being involved in the deaths of a Charlotte woman and her boyfriend were last seen.

[PAST COVERAGE: Charlotte woman, boyfriend found dead in Canada; police investigating disappearances]

The Royal Mounted Police said last Monday they were searching for 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky, whose burning car had been discovered south of Dease Lake.

During that investigation, they found the body of Leonard Dyck roughly a mile from the car.

It's about 300 miles along remote highways from the spot where 24-year-old Chynna Deese, of Charlotte, and 23-year-old Australian Lucas Fowler were found shot dead nearly two weeks ago.

Canadian dive teams were out in a remote Manitoba town searching near the Nelson River and found a damaged aluminum boat on the shore Friday.

Sunday, they searched the area from a helicopter and conducted an underwater search.

Last week, police searched the Canadian town for the pair. They were spotted in the town twice, including once on camera since the murders.

Authorities said a Canadian military plane is also searching for the teens.

Officials said there have been two credible sightings of the suspects in Gillam since the murders. Police have also set up a checkpoint on the only road into town.

Neighbors said they are on edge.

"The community is freaking out because we're not used to this," one resident said.

"It's a safe town, but last night we locked our doors," a woman said.

Police released video Friday of the suspects in a store in Gillam a week after the murders. They said the pair may have changed their appearance.

(McLeod and Schmegelsky seen on surveillance video in Canadian store)

After McLeod and Schmegelsky were announced as suspects, the brothers of Chynna Deese, British and Stetson Deese, spoke out about how painful it has been losing their sister and how the lack of information has been frustrating.

British Deese said they kept in contact with their sister, so when he didn't hear from Chynna, he got suspicious.

"I was snapchatting her back and forth and I thought it was a little odd she didn't respond to me in the last two days, but occasionally, she wouldn't have service for a day or something like that so I thought it could be related to where they are," British Deese said.

"I didn't sleep for like two days after that and now it's kinda like when we go to sleep, sometimes it feels like you know, maybe Chynna's still alive," Stetson Deese said.

They said despite what happened and the frustration, nothing can take away having her in their life.

"None of this is gonna change not having the most beautiful person and most just warming infectious person in our lives anymore, but I just hope that whoever did this can get what they deserve," British Deese said. "It's gonna destroy our family dynamic. She lit up every room she went in and she was just the glue to so many relationships."

(Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler seen hugging at a Canadian gas station)

RCMP Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said last Tuesday that McLeod and Schmegelsky left British Columbia and have been travelling in northern Saskatchewan in a grey 2011 Toyota Rav 4. Later Tuesday, police said McLeod and Schmegelsky may be further east in Manitoba after a reported sighting in the remote northern town of Gillam.

"The RCMP are now considering Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky suspects in the Dease Lake suspicious death and the double homicide of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese," Shoihet said.

Shoihet said the pair are considered dangerous and urged the public not to approach them and to call 911. Police released surveillance photos of the two in Saskatchewan.

The separate discoveries of three bodies and a burning car with missing occupants shook rural northern British Columbia. Murders are rare in the remote region.

The burned vehicle belonged to McLeod and Schmegelsky, both of Port Alberni, British Columbia.

Police had said last Monday the two were traveling to Whitehorse in the Yukon to look for work and had not been in contact with their families for the past few days.

Fowler and Deese were found shot dead along the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs.

Fowler, the son of a chief inspector with the New South Wales Police Department, was living in British Columbia and Deese was visiting him.

The couple had met at a hostel in Croatia and their romance blossomed as they adventured across the U.S., Mexico, Peru and elsewhere, the woman's older brother said.

British Deese said the couple was on a trip to visit Canadian national parks when they were killed. He said the family believes they must have had engine trouble in their van.