Security camera images of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are displayed during a news conference in Surrey, British Columbia, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. The two young men, thought to be missing, are now suspects in the murders of an American woman and her Australian boyfriend as well as the death of another man in northern British Columbia, Canadian police said Tuesday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

Police probe ‘suspicious vehicle’ thought to be linked to B.C. fugitives in northern Ontario

Caller thought males could be Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky of Port Alberni

Ontario Provincial Police in northeastern Ontario are investigating an unconfirmed sighting of two B.C. fugitives suspected in the homicides of three people in northern B.C.

At 10:35 a.m. on Wednesday, July 31 the OPP James Bay detachment in Kapuskasing, Ont., received a report about a suspicious vehicle driving through a construction zone on Highway 11. There was some thought by the caller that the people in the vehicle could have been Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky from Port Alberni, who have been the subject of a Canada-wide manhunt for the past nine days in connection to three homicides in northern B.C.

“We responded to a report about a suspicious vehicle,” Ontario Provincial Police media coordinator Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne said. “There’s no confirmed sighting connecting (the B.C. men). We are investigating this incident. We received other suspicious vehicle sightings across the province and none have been confirmed at this point.

“At this point we have not received any confirmation or linkage that this may be the same two guys,” Dionne said.

READ: RCMP withdraw from York Landing, focus search for B.C. fugitives elsewhere

Kapuskasing is similar in size to Gillam, MB, where police forces spent days looking for McLeod and Schmegelsky after two confirmed sightings.

Acting Sgt. Shona Camirand issued a statement saying the OPP cannot confirm the identity of the people in the vehicle that was occupied by two males. The OPP was looking for the vehicle in question on Wednesday.

Dionne said police in northeastern Ontario released a statement because rumours were running rampant on social media about the vehicle.

“We echo the same comment as RCMP in Manitoba. Social media…is definitely not the way to report it,” she said. “There’s no way for police to manage that. We lose valuable time if it’s a legitimate sighting.”

She said under the circumstances, people who think they have seen either McLeod or Schmegelsky should not approach the people but call 911 immediately.

There was a false sighting of the Port Alberni men in Nova Scotia on Tuesday, July 30. Police in the small town of Amherst descended on a mall Tuesday morning after someone called in a tip that the fugitives were spotted inside. Several units from the Amherst Police Department arrived and searched the area, locating the persons who had been spotted by a witness and determining they were not the suspects wanted for the B.C. murders.

McLeod and Schmegelsky have been charged with second degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck of Vancouver, whose body was found two kilometres away from a truck belonging to the Port Alberni men, south of Dease Lake, B.C., on July 19. The men are also wanted in connection with the deaths of Lucas Fowler of Australia and Chynna Deese of North Carolina, who were found dead near Liard Hot Springs on July 15.

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