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Security camera images recorded in Saskatchewan of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are displayed as RCMP Sgt. Janelle Shoihet listens during a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on July 23, 2019. Hundreds of pages of court documents, released this week after an application by The Globe and Mail and other media organizations, paint an ominous picture of the events that prompted the manhunt that garnered international attention.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

One day after Kam McLeod left his family home for the last time – one day after he and his friend abruptly quit their jobs, purchased a rifle and ammunition and pointed their pickup truck to some indeterminate destination up north – he sent a text message to his girlfriend: “Seriously sorry but I’m not coming back.”

Within days, three people would be dead and Mr. McLeod and his friend, Bryer Schmegelsky, would become the subjects of a massive manhunt spanning four provinces and involving the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces.

Hundreds of pages of court documents, released this week after an application by The Globe and Mail and other media organizations, paint an ominous picture of the events that prompted the manhunt that garnered international attention.

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They reveal that although the pair had told family and friends they were leaving their Port Alberni, B.C., jobs to look for work in Whitehorse, in private they were preparing for something more sinister. And, the documents give voice to individual officers and the witnesses who encountered the killers and came upon their victims.

According to information sworn by an RCMP constable as part of an application for a search warrant, Mr. McLeod’s girlfriend knew he had vague plans to look for work up north. But she didn’t know exactly where he and Mr. Schmegelsky were going, or what they would do when they got there. She had texted to ask why he left without saying goodbye.

A timeline of Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky's movements

during the 2019 manhunt

All times local

YUKON

CANADA

5

4

6

3

7

8

Hwy 37

Hwy 97

BRITISH

COLUMBIA

1

2

0

300

KM

U.S.

1

July 12, between 10:30 and

11:30 a.m., Port Alberni, B.C.

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky depart Port Alberni for a trip to the Yukon. They are driving Mr. McLeod’s two-toned grey and red pickup with attached camper.

2

July 12, 1:15 p.m., Nanaimo, B.C.

Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky purchase one SKS rifle with two Tapco magazines and 20 rounds of Winchester 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition.

3

July 15, 6:30 a.m. near Liard Hot Springs, B.C.

The bodies of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese are found on Highway 97.

4

July 15, 4:00 p.m., Whitehorse:

Surveillance video shows Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky buying red fuel canister.

5

July 17, Alaska Highway:

An Alaska resident pulls over to nap. Within minutes, sees a man holding a long gun creep towards him. Alarmed, he drives away from the armed male.

6

July 18, 5 a.m., Watson Lake, Yukon

Mr. Schmegelsky’s debit card is used at Nugget City Gas, at 650 Alaska Highway.

7

July 18 15:15 p.m., Dease Lake, B.C.:

Surveillance video shows Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky purchase fuel and items at Super A store.

8

July 19, 7:19 a.m – 8:15 a.m., Highway 37:

Mr. McLeod’s burned out truck is found 60 kilometres south of Dease Lake, and Leonard Dyck’s body is found 2.5 km south of the truck.

NORTHWEST

TERRITORIES

NUNAVUT

10

9

SASK.

MANITOBA

0

300

U.S.

KM

9

July 21, approx. 2:30 p.m., Meadow Lake, Sask.:

Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky are recognized at the Meadow Lake Co-op from the RCMP press release.

10

July 22, 7:45 p.m., Gillam, Man.:

Mr. Dyck’s burned out Toyota SUV is found in a ditch next to Provincial Road 290. RCMP arrives at 8:25 p.m.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN;

OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU

A timeline of Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky's movements

during the 2019 manhunt

All times local

YUKON

CANADA

5

4

6

3

7

8

Hwy 37

Hwy 97

BRITISH

COLUMBIA

1

2

0

300

KM

U.S.

1

July 12, between 10:30 and

11:30 a.m., Port Alberni, B.C.

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky depart Port Alberni for a trip to the Yukon. They are driving Mr. McLeod’s two-toned grey and red pickup with attached camper.

2

July 12, 1:15 p.m., Nanaimo, B.C.

Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky purchase one SKS rifle with two Tapco magazines and 20 rounds of Winchester 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition.

3

July 15, 6:30 a.m. near Liard Hot Springs, B.C.

The bodies of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese are found on Highway 97.

4

July 15, 4:00 p.m., Whitehorse:

Surveillance video shows Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky buying red fuel canister.

5

July 17, Alaska Highway:

An Alaska resident pulls over to nap. Within minutes, sees a man holding a long gun creep towards him. Alarmed, he drives away from the armed male.

6

July 18, 5 a.m., Watson Lake, Yukon

Mr. Schmegelsky’s debit card is used at Nugget City Gas, at 650 Alaska Highway.

7

July 18 15:15 p.m., Dease Lake, B.C.:

Surveillance video shows Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky purchase fuel and items at Super A store.

8

July 19, 7:19 a.m – 8:15 a.m., Highway 37:

Mr. McLeod’s burned out truck is found 60 kilometres south of Dease Lake, and Leonard Dyck’s body is found 2.5 km south of the truck.

NORTHWEST

TERRITORIES

NUNAVUT

10

9

SASK.

MANITOBA

0

300

U.S.

KM

9

July 21, approx. 2:30 p.m., Meadow Lake, Sask.:

Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky are recognized at the Meadow Lake Co-op from the RCMP press release.

10

July 22, 7:45 p.m., Gillam, Man.:

Mr. Dyck’s burned out Toyota SUV is found in a ditch next to Provincial Road 290. RCMP arrives at 8:25 p.m.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN;

OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU

A timeline of Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky's movements

during the 2019 manhunt

All times local

0

300

YUKON

NORTHWEST

TERRITORIES

KM

5

4

6

NUNAVUT

3

7

CANADA

8

Hwy 37

10

Hwy 97

9

ALBERTA

SASK.

MANITOBA

BRITISH

COLUMBIA

1

2

U.S.

1

6

July 12, between 10:30 and

11:30 a.m., Port Alberni, B.C.

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky depart Port Alberni for a trip to the Yukon. They are driving Mr. McLeod’s two-toned grey and red pickup with attached camper.

July 18, 5 a.m., Watson Lake, Yukon

Mr. Schmegelsky’s debit card is used at Nugget City Gas, at 650 Alaska Highway.

7

July 18 15:15 p.m., Dease Lake, B.C.:

Surveillance video shows Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky purchase fuel and items at Super A store.

2

July 12, 1:15 p.m., Nanaimo, B.C.

Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky purchase one SKS rifle with two Tapco magazines and 20 rounds of Winchester 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition.

8

July 19, 7:19 a.m – 8:15 a.m., Highway 37:

Mr. McLeod’s burned out truck is found 60 kilometres south of Dease Lake, and Leonard Dyck’s body is found 2.5 km south of the truck.

3

July 15, 6:30 a.m. near Liard Hot Springs, B.C.

The bodies of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese are found on Highway 97.

9

July 21, approx. 2:30 p.m., Meadow Lake, Sask.:

Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky are recognized at the Meadow Lake Co-op from the RCMP press release.

4

July 15, 4:00 p.m., Whitehorse:

Surveillance video shows Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky buying red fuel canister.

5

10

July 17, Alaska Highway:

An Alaska resident pulls over to nap. Within minutes, sees a man holding a long gun creep towards him. Alarmed, he drives away from the armed male.

July 22, 7:45 p.m., Gillam, Man.:

Mr. Dyck’s burned out Toyota SUV is found in a ditch next to Provincial Road 290. RCMP arrives at 8:25 p.m.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU

In September, B.C. RCMP released their final investigative findings into the murders of American Chynna Deese, her Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler and Vancouver-based university lecturer Leonard Dyck in Northern B.C., concluding that Mr. McLeod, 19, and Mr. Schmegelsky, 18, killed them before fleeing eastward, eventually dying in a suicide pact near Gillam, Man. Police have never determined a motive.

Bryer’s father, Al Schmegelsky, remains convinced his son did not set off that July day with plans to kill.

“It wasn’t premeditated on my son’s part, I’ll tell you that right now, because he took all his possessions with him,” Mr. Schmegelsky said in an interview with The Globe this month. The two had exchanged text messages the morning Bryer left, talking about contributing to the younger Schmegelsky’s savings plan and his coming birthday.

Mr. Schmegelsky said his son’s trip up north seemed spontaneous, but not nefarious.

“He took his suit,” he said. “He wanted to feel good, he wanted to look good.”

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The McLeod family has made no public comment to date.

But the documents show that just a few hours after leaving home, Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky pulled up to an outdoor recreation store at a strip mall in Nanaimo, another Vancouver Island city, and walked straight to the firearm section.

Mr. McLeod was captured on video speaking with an employee who retrieved a long gun from the back of the store and placed it in a cardboard box. Mr. McLeod paid for the rifle and ammunition; a still from the video released with the new documents shows the pair leaving the store with their purchases, Mr. Schmegelsky trailing behind his friend.

Surveillance video provided by police shows McLeod, left, and Schmegelsky leaving an outdoor recreation store in Nanaimo, B.C., after purchasing a rifle and ammunition on July 12, 2019.

RCMP

They had bought a Soviet SKS rifle with a Tapco magazine, a second magazine and a box with 20 rounds of ammunition. According to the store’s website, the Soviet SKS semi-automatic rifle, with Tapco stock, costs $399.99.

Police said Thursday that a second rifle, also an SKS, and 750 rounds of ammunition were purchased at a retail outlet in Port Alberni on the same day.

Victims discovered

Three days later and about 2,000 kilometres away, Dave Wilkins and Candy Krueger spotted something suspicious. The two had driven back and forth along a stretch of Highway 97 in Northern B.C., between the Northern Rockies Lodge and Liard hot springs, noticing an old blue Chevrolet van parked at the roadside each time.

But on the third pass, shortly after dawn, the two noticed that the passenger side door was open and, as they got closer, that the rear passenger side window was smashed. As they approached, Mr. Wilkins saw what he believed to be a body in the ditch. He drove past the van, turned around and came back. A second body.

“Wilkins explained that both bodies were face down in the ground with their hands loosely at their sides,” the court documents say. “Wilkins thought they were deceased. Wilkins yelled out asking if they needed help but got no response.”

The bodies would later be confirmed to be those of Ms. Deese and Mr. Fowler.

Four days later, south of Dease Lake, a police officer responded to a vehicle fire. It was an older pickup truck, which he believed to be a Dodge, and completely burned and smouldering when the officer arrived. As he prepared to leave, highway worker William Sjodin approached to report seeing a body just down the street.

The officer noted that the deceased had a big belly and large, unkempt beard, and blood had pooled on the right side of his body. Police released a composite sketch of the man in hopes of learning his identity.

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Back in Vancouver, Helen Dyck was growing worried after not having heard from her husband in several days. Leonard Dyck, a botanist at the University of B.C., had travelled north to view grizzly bears; the two regularly exchanged text messages and Ms. Dyck kept track of his travels by monitoring his credit-card purchases, the documents state.

She called police after seeing the composite sketch.

The documents reference “numerous injuries” to the deceased, but specific details are redacted. Police had previously said Mr. Dyck suffered injuries to the head and body, including bruises and burn marks.

Another close call

There is also the close-call story of Alaska resident Ken Albertsen. According to the documents, Mr. Albertsen, whose name is also spelled “Albertson," was travelling home along the Alaska Highway when he pulled over to nap. Within minutes, a white GMC truck stopped ahead of him and a male passenger got out, holding what Mr. Albertsen described as a long gun.

The man approached in what appeared, to the Alaskan, to be a “tactical or hunting stance” and “slowly crept” in his direction. And then Mr. Albertsen noticed the truck slowly driving toward him. Mr. Albertsen drove away, past the armed man and the truck.

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“[Mr. Albertsen] attempted to observe the identity of the driver, however, the driver covered his face with his hand and turned his head away from [Mr. Albertsen]," the documents state.

At their September news conference on the investigation, RCMP said that although the witness described the truck as a white GMC, the time, location and male descriptions fit Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky.

Police would later confirm that the two SKS type firearms were used in the three murders.

The bodies of Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky were found on Aug. 7, in a densely forested area near Gillam. They had died in a suicide pact, with Mr. McLeod shooting his friend before turning the gun on himself.

They left behind six videos of themselves, in which they confessed to the murders and showed no remorse.

Al Schmegelsky said watching his son’s videos gave him some semblance of closure.

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“You know what he said? ‘Cremate me and throw my ashes in the garbage.’ That’s what he said. That describes how beaten down he was all his life: ‘That’s where I deserve to be, in the garbage.’”

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