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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
– 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.”
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.”
“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
WATCH: Saturday Night Live airs Christmas special — that’s just one giant dig at the Electoral College
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" aired an opening skit that was just one giant attack on the electoral college.
A snowman introduced the segment, saying that we could look in on the holiday table conversation thanks to hacked Nest cams.
The skit featured a house in San Francisco, California, a second in Charleston, South Carolina and a third in Atlanta, Georgia.
Each dinner table debated impeachment, and the differences between President Donald Trump and his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
But then the snowman said that none of their votes matter.
"They'll debate the issues all year long, but then it all comes down to 1,000 people in Wisconsin who won't even think about the election until the morning of," the snowman said. "And that's the magic of the Electoral College."
Georgia mayor being recalled for racism resigns from office: report
Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly resigned in a special city council meeting held on Saturday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Saturday.
"The resignation came just days after Councilman Jim Cleveland resigned saying he‘d rather leave office on his own terms than face voters in a recall election next month," the newspaper reported. "Both resignations follow an AJC investigation launched seven months ago into claims that an African American candidate for city administrator was sidetracked by Mayor Theresa Kenerly because of his race."
Nine 2020 Democrats unite to demand DNC Chair Tom Perez scrap debate rules: report
The Democratic National Committee is facing a revolt for the party's 2020 presidential candidates for its restrictive debate rules.
"Nine Democratic presidential candidates, including the party's front-runners, are urging the Democratic National Committee to toss out the current polling and fundraising rules used to determine who appears in televised debates and reopen the exchanges to better reflect the historic diversity of the current field. The candidates say the rules exclude diverse candidates in the field from participating," CBS News reported Saturday evening.