Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

RCMP officers on Aug. 7, 2019 carry the remains of either Bryer Schmegelsky or Kam McLeod, both of whom recorded themselves confessing to three murders before they died.Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

Before Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky died in the wilds of northern Manitoba, they filmed videos in which they confessed to three murders in British Columbia and said they planned to kill again.

What they didn’t explain is why.

In one video, Mr. Schmegelsky, 18, said the two were responsible for the deaths of Chynna Deese, Lucas Fowler and Leonard Dyck. They planned to make their way to Hudson Bay, hijack a boat and go to Europe or Africa, he said.

In another, Mr. Schmegelsky said they have reached a big and fast-moving river and may have to kill themselves, to which Mr. McLeod, 19, agreed. They again took responsibility for the murders and showed no remorse.

In a third, the pair say the video is their last will and testament and ask to be cremated.

Police said Friday that Mr. McLeod shot Mr. Schmegelsky before shooting himself. Located with their bodies were two SKS semi-automatic rifles, later determined to be the weapons used in the murders.

The videos were taken on a digital camera that belonged to Mr. Dyck.

The newly released details are in the final investigative report into the killings, released by B.C. RCMP on Friday. Police are not releasing the videos, citing research that publicizing such crimes can inspire copy-cats.

The RCMP’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, which reviewed the videos, said the two men, both residents of Port Alberni, B.C., may have made the recordings for notoriety.

“In an effort to not sensationalize the actions of McLeod and Schmegelsky to commit similar acts of violence, the videos will not be released to the public by the RCMP,” the report said.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett described the killers’ disposition in the videos as “cold, remorseless [and] matter-of-fact.”

A fourth video shows Mr. Schmegelsky saying they have shaved in preparation for death, plan to kill more people, and expect to be dead in a week. In the fifth, they say they are going to shoot themselves. The sixth and final video is brief and appears to have been taken unintentionally.

The report also details a chilling close call. On July 17 – two days after Ms. Deese and Mr. Fowler’s bodies were found and two days before Mr. Dyck’s was – a motorist pulled over on the Alaska Highway about two hours west of Whitehorse for a nap. A truck with a camper van pulled up ahead and a man got out of the passenger side with a long gun.

The man walked toward the tree line and then toward the motorist “in a tactical or hunting stance” as the truck started driving toward the witness, the report said. The motorist drove away.

Police said Friday they believed the occupants of the truck were Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky.

The murders may just have been crimes of opportunity, the police said.

“What the motive was, if there was in fact a motive, is gone with the accused,” Assistant Commissioner Hackett said.

How the RCMP found Canada’s most wanted fugitives with a raven, a Cree trapper and luck

Police briefed the victims’ families on Thursday and the suspects’ families on Friday.

The Deese family issued a statement thanking the RCMP for its dedication, and the public for its help and empathy.

“The loss we continue to endure is shattering, but Chynna’s memories are a benediction to her genuine happiness and intense love of life,” the statement read. “Throughout this tragedy, along with the help of many, they serve as our reminder of the good nature and peace humanity has the capacity to show.”

Sarah Leamon, the lawyer for Mr. Schmegelsky’s father, Al Schmegelsky, said: “My client expressed that he accepts everything presented to him as fact.”

The bodies of Ms. Deese and Mr. Fowler were found near Liard Hot Springs on July 15. The body of Mr. Dyck was found four days later, about 470 kilometres away.

Police said the violence of the murders appeared to have escalated. The first victims were shot, but Mr. Dyck suffered injuries to his head and body, including bruises and burn marks, before he was killed with a single gunshot wound.

The report also said the two men legally bought one SKS semi-automatic rifle and a box of 20 rounds of Winchester 7.62 x 39mm ammunition using Mr. McLeod’s Possession and Acquisition Licence at a sporting goods retailer called Cabela’s in Nanaimo, B.C.

It added that on July 29, searchers in Manitoba discovered several items belonging to the suspects, including hundreds of rounds of ammunition, from a number of sites. It is unclear to police how they got the ammunition. The investigative theory is that the pair were dumping weight as they fled through the bush near Gillam from the burning remains of Mr. Dyck’s vehicle, which they had taken after his death, officers said.

On Aug. 1, police searchers found Mr. McLeod’s backpack, containing a full box of ammunition, and his wallet with his identification and clothing.

The search ended on Aug. 7 in northern Manitoba, when items on a shoreline gave investigators an area of focus, leading them to the discovery of the suspects’ bodies.

We have a weekly Western Canada newsletter written by our B.C. and Alberta bureau chiefs, providing a comprehensive package of the news you need to know about the region and its place in the issues facing Canada. Sign up today.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe