Canada killers joked about Macca’s, ‘joy ride’: Samaritan
CANADIAN cops appeared to bungle the early search for the accused teen killers of young Aussie backpacker Lucas Fowler, with a delay posting a wanted notice meaning the pair passed freely through a security checkpoint.
Two security officers at an indigenous community said they questioned Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, last week and let them pass, a day before the public was made aware they were wanted men.
Nathan Neckoway, a councillor at the Tataskweyak Cree Nation on the only road into Split Lake, in rural Manitoba, confirmed officers conducted a routine alcohol and drug search of the pair as they drove into his dry community last Monday.
"We weren't aware of their status, of them being wanted," said Mr Neckoway.
"Apparently after they came to our community that's when they sent out that wanted [status]."
It has also been revealed that McLeod and Schmegelsky nervously made jokes - about being on a joy ride and missing McDonald's - with a Good Samaritan who unwittingly helped them.
Police were already looking for the pair, but had not yet issued a warning to the public about them when they bogged their Rav 4 in a muddy field in Cold Lake, Alberta, last week.
Tommy Ste-Croix said they had been stuck about 1.5 hours when he approached to help them on the morning of Sunday July 21.
"Mum and Dad's going to be pissed," Mr Ste-Croix said he told them.
"They looked at me and said, 'No, Mum and Dad told me to go for a long joy ride".
"We chuckled... and Bryer, right after that said 'I think we missed McDonald's. And we laughed again and I am like, 'Holy s..t you are way off McDonald's."
Mr Ste-Croix said he then explained how he would use his truck to tow them free and got them back on the road. They were next sited in Split Lake, some 1300km away, the following day.
"You could tell they were nervous," he told CBC.
They shook hands and gave their real names and it wasn't until two days later that police issued their alert and Mr Ste-Croix realised with a shock how fortunate he had been.
"They were teens, shy teens," Mr Ste-Croix said.
"They were polite with me. You know if they really, really wanted me, I could be dead.
"My personal opinion is that they seemed like good raised kids.
"They had the opportunity to grab the truck. I was alone with them. I was behind the SUV tying it up and they pretty much had a brand new truck to take off with. My wallet was in there. But they didn't."
A constable at the waterfront town yesterday confirmed he had stopped the pair but told News Corp Australia "nothing stood out" about them. They then drove to a nearby petrol station and bought $20 worth of petrol, according to gas station attendant Mychelle Keeper.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the last confirmed sighting of the pair was on July 22 in Split Lake.
The bodies of Mr Fowler and his girlfriend, Chynna Deese were found on July 15, and a third victim, Leonard Dyck, was found 500km away on July 19.
Police did not issue an alert warning the public about the main suspects McLeod and Schmegelsky until July 23. The next day, they revealed the pair had left a burned out Rav4 near Gillam, 170km from Split Lake, kickstarting a major search of the area.
That probe was focused on York Landing, a remote fishing village only accessible by air or ferry from Split Lake, after a volunteer searcher reported an encounter with the pair on Sunday, local time.
Despite dozens of officers, sniffer dogs and drones combing the small town, there was no trace found of the pair and police said they were "unable to substantiate the tip".
Last night, police started broadening their search again, moving an emergency response team back to Gillam, where it has been based for several days.
RCMP resources remain in the Gillam area and will continue to conduct searches in high probability areas for any signs of the suspects. The search of remote areas is being conducted both on foot and in the air. #rcmpmb pic.twitter.com/3QCPrQ4Tpw— RCMP Manitoba (@rcmpmb) July 30, 2019
Mother of three Ida Beardy, 38, from York Landing, said there was disappointment the pair had not been found.
"Everyone is not happy that the boys have not been caught. The community is scared because of the danger and I don't want to let my kids out of the house," she said.
"For us here it's bad but it's worse for the families of the victims. We have police here protecting us but the only thing the police can do for the families is to find the killers."