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Canada teen murder suspects died in apparent ‘suicides by gunfire’

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Autopsies confirmed that two bodies discovered in the Canadian wilds are those of teen murder suspects who apparently took their own lives after weeks on the run, police announced Monday.

“The two died in what appears to be suicides by gunfire,” federal police said in a statement.

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Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, wanted over the murders of an Australian man and his American girlfriend, as well as of a Canadian university professor, had led police on a cross-country manhunt.

Initially, the pair were reported missing themselves after their car was found torched in British Columbia province, but police then discovered the third body, and the teens were named as formal suspects.

Last week, police closing in on the pair had found items linked to the suspects on the shores of the Nelson River. They also found a battered aluminum boat.

Their remains were soon found in dense brush in the central province of Manitoba about eight kilometers (five miles) from a burned-out stolen vehicle belonging to one of the victims, discovered on July 22.

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It is unclear when exactly the pair died.

– Analysis of firearms –

However, police said there are “strong indications” that they had been alive for a few days since last being seen near the town of Gillam, Manitoba — which had sparked a massive police search of the area.

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Police deployed tracker dogs, a drone and search planes equipped with infrared cameras to comb the difficult, forested and swampy terrain, which was infested with mosquitos and home to bears and wolves.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said they are conducting a forensic analysis of two firearms located with the teens in order to confirm that these were used in the British Columbia murders.

Investigators and the RCMP behavioral analysis unit are also continuing to try to piece together the events that lead to the murders. Their findings are to be released in the coming weeks.

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McLeod and Schmegelsky, who were childhood friends, had led police on a more than 3,000-kilometer (1,860-mile) chase halfway across the vast country to Manitoba province.

They had been wanted over the murders of Australian Lucas Fowler, 23, and American Chynna Deese, 24, who were discovered shot to death on July 15 along a highway in British Columbia.

Fowler had been living in British Columbia, local media reported, but the pair had been traveling extensively. Deese’s family told US media that the couple had embarked on a road trip through Canada.

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– Uncertainty over motive –

Authorities then found the body of 64-year-old Leonard Dyck, a botany professor at the University of British Columbia, on July 19.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett has said it would be “extremely difficult for us to ascertain definitively what the motive was.”

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In an interview last month with the Canadian Press as the manhunt ramped up, Schmegelsky’s father said his son was deeply troubled and had never recovered from his parents’ divorce in 2005.

“He’s on a suicide mission,” Alan Schmegelsky said.

He said in an interview with Australia’s “60 Minutes” aired Sunday that “his troubles are over. I’m so sad that he felt that he had to take this road trip.”

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“I’m so sorry for what’s happened,” he said, but added in defense of his only son: “I’m not going to say my son is a murderer until I get some facts.”

Kennedy Deese, sister of one of the victims, dismissed his comments, saying in a Facebook post: “Your sorrow is for yourself. You cannot relate to us, as we had no doings in the cause of your pain, when you’ve played a part in the cause of our pain.”

“To the murderers and their family, the appropriate action when mistakes are made is taking responsibility. The proper public response would have been a genuine apology. But we still forgive you and have mercy.”d

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump aides desperately try to downplay ‘order’ to US companies to leave China

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Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday downplayed the idea of US companies being forced to abandon China any time soon, as an edict from the president ordering businesses to start looking for alternatives has been met with skepticism.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow took to the airwaves from France, where Trump is participating in the G7 summit, to smooth out tensions in the business community prompted by Trump's Friday tweet.

Trump said he has "no plan now" to bring US companies in line, and his aides quickly reinforced the message.

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President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday on his hard line against China after sowing confusion with statements that he might be willing to soften a trade war G7 partners fear threatens the world economy.

At the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump announced a major trade deal with Japan and promised more of the same with Britain, once Brexit is done.

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"I have second thoughts about everything," he conceded to reporters when asked if he regretted his decision on Friday to ramp up tariffs on all Chinese imports, worth some $550 billion, in retaliation for Beijing's earlier hike of levies on US goods.

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Persecuted Christians eye long-sought freedom in Sudan

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Sudan's Christians suffered decades of persecution under the regime of Islamist general Omar al-Bashir. Now they hope his downfall will give the religious freedom they have long prayed for.

Deep within the maze of dusty alleys that honeycomb Omdurman, Khartoum's sprawling twin city, Yousef Zamgila's church is not visible from the street.

It is hidden in the courtyard of a friend's home and consists of a few iron benches, a pulpit and crosses hastily painted on pillars holding a corrugated roof.

"The previous centre got destroyed because we didn't have the right papers. They always refused... So we use the land of our neighbours," says the Lutheran reverend.

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