A second-degree murder charge has been laid against 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky, the two teenagers that have set off a Canada-wide manhunt after three murders in northern British Columbia.
RCMP say they’ve identified the body found near Dease Lake, B.C., as Leonard Dyck of Vancouver.
His body was found on a highway pullout about two kilometres from a burned-out truck and camper police have said the teenagers had been driving.
Police say the pair are now charged with Dyck’s murder and that means Canada-wide warrants have been issued for McLeod and Schmegelsky and officers across the country are searching for them.
Mounties had at first thought the teenagers were missing but on Tuesday said they were suspects in the deaths of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese, whose bodies were found alongside the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs in northern B.C. on Monday, July 15.
Dyck’s family released a statement saying they are heartbroken at the tragic loss of the loving husband and father and his death has created unthinkable grief.
McLeod and Schmelgelsky were reportedly last spotted in the Gillam, Manitoba area and a burned-out vehicle found in the area has been confirmed by Manitoba RCMP as the one they had been driving in.
No further details were given and a spokesperson for the RCMP said, “With respect to public safety, we understand the concerns being raised. This is a complex ongoing investigation involving multiple jurisdictions.”
“If we have a confirmed sighting, we will let everyone know as soon as possible.”
Deputy Mayor John McDonald said people in Gillam were also making sure their vehicles are locked while the RCMP search for the suspects.
McDonald said if McLeod and Schmegelsky are there, they are in country known for its thick bush, swamps and pesky insects, and where it’s easy to get lost.
“If they are wandering around in the bush, they couldn’t have picked a worse time because the sandflies came out three days ago and they’re just voracious,” he said Wednesday.
“I’m quite sure they’ll be more than happy to have someone find them.”
The father of Bryer Schmegelsky says his son is in “very serious pain” and he expects a nationwide manhunt will end in the young man’s death.
Alan Schmegelsky says Bryer had a troubled upbringing. He struggled through his parents’ acrimonious split in 2005 and his main influences became video games and YouTube.
“A normal child doesn’t travel across the country killing people. A child in some very serious pain does,” Schmegelsky said in an emotional interview Wednesday in Mill Bay, B.C., near his home in Victoria.
Alan Schmegelsky said he expects his son will die in a confrontation with police.
“He’s on a suicide mission. He wants his pain to end,” he said, breaking down into tears. “Basically, he’s going to be dead today or tomorrow. I know that. Rest in peace, Bryer. I love you. I’m so sorry all this had to happen.”
Even if his son is caught, his life will be over, the father said.
“He wants his hurt to end. They’re going to go out in a blaze of glory. Trust me on this. That’s what they’re going to do.”
In Port Alberni, signs with “No Trespassing” were staked outside of McLeod’s large waterfront family home. His father, Keith McLeod, released a written statement to media.
“This is what I do know – Kam is a kind, considerate, caring young man (who) always has been concerned about other people’s feelings,” McLeod said.
“As we are trapped in our homes due to media people, we try to wrap our heads around what is happening and hope that Kam will come home to us safely so we can all get to the bottom of this story.”
Ontario Provincial Police in the Northwest region of Ontario have also issued a public safety warning.
OPP say it appears the suspects are headed in an easterly direction. They are considered dangerous and residents are asked not to approach them if spotted.
Anyone with information is asked to immediately call 9-1-1.
Singh says Liberals must demonstrate willingness to work together
Jagmeet Singh said Thursday he is hopeful the New Democrats can find common ground with the Liberals in the minority Parliament and suggested the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois are less than ideal dance partners for the Trudeau government.
Mr. Singh, who leads a caucus of 24 MPs, said Thursday he will look for indicators in the Dec. 5 Throne Speech that demonstrate a willingness to work together.
The commitments he’s looking for include a single-payer universal pharmacare system, national dental care, a commitment to fighting the climate crisis in a “meaningful way” and a pledge to drop an appeal of a human-rights tribunal decision on Indigenous children, Mr. Singh said.
“What I want to make very clear is the Liberal government has to work with parties to pass bills,” Mr. Singh told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday morning.
“There’s no question about that.”
The Prime Minister, who was reduced from a majority government to a minority in the Oct. 21 election, has been meeting with other party leaders this week on Parliament Hill to assess what each is looking for in this Parliament and where he may see eye-to-eye with them.
He met with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer on Tuesday and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet on Wednesday.
In his meeting, Mr. Scheer urged Mr. Trudeau to study the implementation of an east-west energy corridor to address national-unity challenges and also called for tax cuts, the cancellation of new environmental-assessment rules and funding for Toronto subway expansions.
Mr. Blanchet said Wednesday he looks forward to collaborating with the Liberal minority on issues that affect Quebeckers, including more financial help for the elderly and a compensation plan for dairy farmers. He also warned he would not shy away from opposing measures that go against Quebec’s interests or infringe on provincial autonomy.
Canadians expect parties to work together to serve them according to their priorities, Mr. Trudeau said Thursday.
“We’re very much focused on working with all parties in the House,” he said.
Mr. Trudeau also indicated areas where the Liberals see shared priorities with the NDP including the fight against climate change, the need to tackle affordability issues such as housing, growing the economy in ways that help everyone, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and improving the health-care system.
Mr. Singh said Thursday he hopes the Prime Minister will choose to work closely with the New Democrats on national, progressive programs and cited pharmacare as an example.
The Conservatives are not interested in rolling out such a program, Mr. Singh said, adding that the Bloc doesn’t have an interest in delivering plans that benefit Canadians across the country because they are “not a national party.”
Mr. Singh said Mr. Trudeau will have to work with him if he has any interest in delivering national, progressive programs.
“And if he’s going to work with me, it [pharmacare] is going to be universal,” he said. “It is going to be public.”
Mr. Singh said he is willing to be constructive with Mr. Trudeau, but vowed that he won’t do this “blindly” to avoid another election. The NDP is deeply in debt.
He said he is ready to head back to the polls, adding he will work for the nearly three million Canadians who voted for the New Democrats.
“But by no means does that mean I’m beholden in any way to working with the Liberals,” he said. “I have a job which is to fight for Canadians.”
“I am hoping that they are prepared to work with us.”
Mr. Singh has left the door open to voting against the Throne Speech, but he hasn’t identified specific issues that would prompt such a move.
By Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press
Cloverdale pastor found guilty on one sex charge
A Cloverdale pastor has been found guilty on one count of sexual assault, while his wife has been acquitted on all counts.
Samuel Emerson was a pastor at Cloverdale Christian Fellowship Church for eight years.
Emerson was being tried on five counts of sexual assault, two counts of touching a young person for a sexual purpose, and one count of sexual interference.
What did church know about B.C. pastor accused of sexual assault?
His wife Madelaine was charged with two counts of sexual assault, one count touching a young person for a sexual purpose and one count of threats to cause death or bodily harm.
A publication ban was in effect to protect the identities of the victims.
“I was kind of overwhelmed by it all, I know everybody involved, and its the first time to hear a lot of the circumstances,” said Emerson’s father, Randy, the church’s senior pastor.
“So, it’s been a long two and a half years for us, and lots of hurt all the way around.”
Many members of the church were in attendance at the Surrey court room where the verdict was delivered, some of them expressing disappointment with the result.
Emerson will be sentenced at a later date, and remains free from custody on court-ordered conditions.
The offences were alleged to have occurred between 2015 and 2017.
Randy Emerson told Global News in a previous interview the incidents were alleged to have taken place off church grounds.
Randy also previously told Global News that Samuel resigned his position upon his arrest.
He said the family’s five children had been living with their grandparents after their parents’ arrest.
With files from Catherine Urquhart
Ron MacLean ponders his future
He’s been called Judas. Pontius Pilate. Brute, too.
But while Ron MacLean has heard these references, he said there is only one truth when it comes to how he feels about Donald S. Cherry.
“I love Don,” he said.
You can tell from his voice these have not been easy days for MacLean. He’s worrying about the well-being of his close friend and the criticism he has faced for his response after last week’s controversial Coach’s Corner broadcast.
They have, after all, been partners for 35-years on Coach’s Corner until Remembrance Day when Cherry was fired by Sportsnet for saying “you people who come here” should wear poppies to honour the troops who provided this way of life and freedom.
MacLean took to Twitter, as well as appearing on the Sunday night Hometown Hockey broadcast, to apologize.
But he had no idea he would never appear with Cherry on Coach’s Corner again.
“It all happened so fast. I wish we could have had another day,” he said.
And now he is faced with trying to figure out what comes next?
He spent Wednesday at CBC headquarters meeting with Sportsnet brass and producers to work on just that.
“I am doing some thinking,” MacLean said Wednesday. “I am taking these days to sort and order what I will say Saturday.”
It’s going to be interesting to see how Hockey Night in Canada is going to handle that first intermission. It’s a massive hole to fill.
My suggestion is for everybody to stop trying to sink this ship.
I am hoping saner heads will prevail and we can get Coach’s Corner back where it belongs.
Forgive Don for a minor faux pas. Forgive Ron for his reactions in what was clearly a difficult time.
Make amends to those who feel hurt by what they think Cherry was trying to say.
And then get back to entertaining the audience on Saturday night.
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