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Canada manhunt suspects recorded 'last will and testament' before taking their own lives: report

Last Updated Aug 20, 2019 at 8:41 am PDT

Bryer Schmegelsky, left, and Kam McLeod are seen in this undated combination handout photo provided by the RCMP. The RCMP say two British Columbia men who led police on a cross-Canada manhunt died by what appears to be suicide by gunfire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Summary

The video reportedly outlines the pair's final wishes

The RCMP has not confirmed the existence of the video

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The two men accused in the killings of three people in northern B.C. last month, and who led police on a Canada-wide manhunt for weeks, apparently recorded a video of themselves before they died.

According to the Star Metro, a family member — who didn’t see the video themselves — told the paper that relatives of Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, were shown about 30 seconds of footage.

It reportedly outlines the pair’s final wishes, in what’s been described as a “goodbye” and “last will and testament.”

It’s unclear how long the video, which was apparently shot on a cellphone found near the Vancouver Island men’s bodies in northern Manitoba, is. The RCMP has also not confirmed the existence of the video.

The bodies of American Chynna Deese, 24, and her Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler, 23, were found along the Alaska highway, south of Liard Hot Springs, in mid-July in northern B.C. Days later, the body of UBC Lecturer Leonard Dyck was found near a burned-out vehicle about 470 kilometres away from Dease Lake.

Schmegelsky and McLeod were charged with second-degree murder in Dyck’s death and named suspects in the tourists’ deaths

Many unknowns

The fact Mounties are staying mum about whether these reports are true is a move a former RCMP criminal investigator agrees with.

“To attract unnecessary attention on some piece of evidence could actually be detrimental to the work of the investigators,” Michel Juneau-Katsuya said. He notes we don’t know what could be in the recording, other than the reported final wishes.

“There is maybe something in it that talks about an accomplice, that talks about circumstances or other elements that need to be found, and there’s also maybe certain parts — who knows — that can be too graphic to be revealed publicly,” he explained, adding a number of factors need to be considered by the RCMP before it releases the video or even confirms it exists.

“For that purpose and for that reason, I think it is appropriate that the RCMP, for the moment, withhold that information,” Juneau-Katsuya added.

Leaving ‘the last word’

While it’s happened before, the former investigator — who was also formerly with CSIS — says it’s not very common in Canada to find that a suspect or suspects have left behind a message.

“It is not necessarily that common that they try to have the last words in the story by giving their version, or their perspective on what took place,” Juneau-Katsuya said, reiterating what the video actually contains is still a mystery.

“It is not unheard of, but it is not that common that we will have the criminals expressing their last thoughts and their last will, and occasionally, admitting their crime just before killing themselves,” Juneau-Katsuya said. 

The suspects from Port Alberni, who were initially reported missing, led police on a chase which ended in northern Manitoba on Aug. 7, when their remains were found near the Nelson River in heavy brush.

Autopsies confirmed their identities and the RCMP determined Schmegelsky and McLeod killed themselves.

The case captured the attention of people across the country and even the world. In the almost two weeks since the manhunt ended, many questions, including what a possible motive might have been, have swirled — and gone largely unanswered.