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Year in Review: B.C. murders and the manhunt for the suspects

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*

GILLAM, Man. – On July 12, two teenagers left their Port Alberni, B.C. homes apparently seeking employment in Yukon.

Shortly after began what turned out to be one of Canada’s largest manhunts.

The bodies of Australian Lucas Fowler and American Chynna Deese were found near Fort Nelson, B.C. on July 15.

Four days later, the body of UBC professor Leonard Dyck was found near Dease Lake, B.C.

READ MORE: Timeline of events in British Columbia homicide manhunt

That was just the first week in the near-months long manhunt for suspects Bryer Shcmelgesky, 18, and Kam Macloed, 19, who were charged in Dyck’s death.

RCMP investigated photographs of Schmegelsky in military fatigues with a swastika armband, holding an airsoft rifle and wearing a gas mask along the way. His father, Alan, had said that he didn’t think his son was a Nazi sympathizer, but he did find the memorabilia “cool.”

The teens were spotted at various locations between B.C. and Manitoba by video surveillance and passersby and were tracked to the Gillam, Manitoba area where a burnt out Toyota Rav 4 was found on July 22.

Social media abuzz across the country and around the world with reported sightings and mystery theorists, RCMP were confident the pair hadn’t made it far from the Gillam area as RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy explained.

“There’s no trails, there is just thick brush,” explained MacLatchy told Canadians amid the hunt. She had also thanks everyone for remaining vigilant in while the search was ongoing.

A former U.S. Marshal who hunted down “the worst of the worst” said the suspects were likely “at each other’s throats“.

Father of suspect in three B.C. deaths expects son will go out in ‘blaze of glory’
Schmegelsky and McLeod likely desperate, ‘at each other’s throats’: former U.S. Marshal
Behavioural analysis can help answer the ‘why’ in B.C. murders: expert
New documents reveal chilling details about B.C.’s teen fugitive killers

“They’ve got to shift gears at a moment’s notice if they’re out there in the wilderness somewhere, desperate, probably no provisions. They’re probably at each other’s throats,” he says, adding they likely have no idea who they can trust,” explained Lenny DePaul in a previous interview.

“These kids are out there, they’re desperate. I believe there’s a weapon involved. I don’t think the gun has been recovered. Human instincts turn into animal instincts. You don’t know what they’re going to do.”

“They’re going to go out in a blaze of glory,” Alan Schmegelsky had said. “Trust me on this. That’s what they’re going to do.”

Eventually–with help from RCMP, local police, diligent and fearful Manitoba residents, and the Canadian Armed Forces–two bodies were found in dense brush approximately eight kilometres from where a burnt-out stolen RAV4 was located outside Gillam on Aug. 7.

“I am confident that it is them,” MacLatchy said in a press conference after the bodies were found.

The identities were confirmed a few days later by autopsy, and by a series of videos in which Macleod and Schmelgesky admitted to the murders, and a suicide pact, apparently showing no remorse for their actions.

READ MORE: No remorse, more murders planned: RCMP on B.C. homicides that sparked national manhunt

A certified criminal profiler said investigators should find clues about why two men might have killed three people in northern British Columbia and whether there was a leader and a follower by studying exactly how the victims were killed.

Jim Van Allen is the former manager of the Ontario Provincial Police criminal profiling unit and has studied 835 homicide scenes.

He said in a previous interview with the Canadian Press that behavioural analysis will never have the certainty of fingerprint or ballistic evidence because it involves some interpretation, but it can help answer the big question of “why?”

He said while all murders are violent, particularly brutal killings can suggest explosive anger and lead investigators in cases where there are no suspects to look for someone who was evicted, fired or recently faced another challenge.

with files from NEWS 1130, The Canadian Press