Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

RCMP officers and Fox Lake Cree Nation Chief Walter Spence at a community BBQ and meeting on Friday evening to give information to residents after the Canada-wide manhunt for triple murder suspects Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod centered on the small Northern Manitoba area.

Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

Throughout the remote Northern Manitoba town of Gillam, there were signs of normalcy Friday – children riding bicycles, moms on walks, pushing their infants in strollers, residents preparing to spend the long weekend away at their cabins.

But the stress and angst of living with a police manhunt for two fugitives wanted in three killings in Northern British Columbia was evident at a community meeting that evening.

Nearly 100 residents of Gillam and Fox Lake Cree Nation attended to hear the latest information about the RCMP investigation and to learn what will be done to keep their communities safe, now that the police have scaled back their search.

Story continues below advertisement

Gillam Mayor Dwayne Forman said he wasn’t surprised to hear that many residents were still feeling very uneasy.

“Ultimately, we’re still in a state of unknown. Nobody knows where they [the fugitives] are,” he said after the meeting. “So I understand that there’s still going to be fears and it was definitely raised by the community. And that’s what this meeting was about, to find out to what stage of fear is still within the community.”

That fear stems from that fact that the RCMP manhunt for Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, has hit an impasse in the vast Northern Manitoba wilderness.

The Mounties have been searching the remote region for 11 days. They have combed through more than 11,000 square kilometres, 100-plus abandoned buildings and more than 250 tips. Police have used sniffer dogs, drones, helicopters and ATVs in the manhunt. The RCMP also tapped two military aircraft: a Canadian Air Force CC-130H Hercules plane and a CP-140 Aurora outfitted with an infrared camera and imaging-radar systems.

Members of the Manitoba RCMP Emergency Response Team offload a helicopter in Gillam, Manitoba. The search for triple murder suspects Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod has been reduced in the Northern Manitoba bush, with the military pulling out and some of the RCMP resources leaving the area.

Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

But at this point, the police search has yielded few clues on the whereabouts of Mr. Schmegelsky and Mr. McLeod, childhood friends from Port Alberni, B.C. The pair has not been seen since July 22, when the grey Toyota Rav 4 that police believe the pair was driving was found burning in a ditch near the Fox Lake Cree Nation.

The young men are suspects in the deaths of American Chynna Deese, 24, and her 23-year-old Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler, who were shot to death on the side of a Northern British Columbia highway and found on July 15. Four days later, the body of Vancouver resident Leonard Dyck, 64, a sessional lecturer at the University of British Columbia’s botany department, was discovered on a road near Dease Lake, about 500 kilometres southwest of the hot springs.

RCMP have charged Mr. Schmegelsky and Mr. McLeod with second-degree murder in Mr. Dyck’s death. They are also suspects in the deaths of Ms. Deese and Mr. Fowler, police said.

Story continues below advertisement

The community meeting in Gillam on Friday evening was closed to reporters to allow residents to speak freely. Political leaders from Gillam and Fox Lake were present to answer questions, along with Sergeant Ian McKenzie, commander of the RCMP Gillam detachment, and a mental-health counsellor.

Mr. Forman said the town will examine the possibility of re-establishing a citizen patrol group, disbanded a while ago due to a shortage of volunteers.

He said residents also expressed a desire for additional staff and security measures for summer programs for children in the community.

About 1,200 residents live in Gillam and another 500 at the Fox Lake community, about 50 kilometres northeast of Gillam. An RCMP detachment is located in Gillam, but no police officer is based in Fox Lake.

Fox Lake Cree Nation Chief Walter Spence greets community members at the end of a community BBQ and meeting held on Friday evening to give information to the residents after the Canada-wide manhunt for triple murder suspects Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod.

Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

The community used to have band constables, but funding for that program was cut under the previous federal Conservative government, Fox Lake Chief Walter Spence said after Friday’s meeting.

Chief Spence believes the RCMP scaled back their manhunt for the fugitives too soon. At the moment, volunteers from Fox Lake are patrolling the community at night to keep watch and help residents feel safe.

Story continues below advertisement

“There is still a high sense of stress, anxiety,” Chief Spence said.

While many residents remain uneasy, Jeff Short and his wife, Andrea, are easing back into their old routines, like taking their dog for a walk in the bush. Mr. Short, a civil engineer for Manitoba Hydro, said the community meeting was helpful. He believes the passage of time will help Gillam truly return to normalcy.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies