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Updated on the northern B.C. murders and manhunt

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northern B.C. murders

On Friday, the RCMP released its findings after an exhaustive investigation into the three murders in northern B.C. over the summer that set off a nationwide manhunt.

Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod admitted to fatally shooting the three people and took part in a suicide pact, RCMP say video reveals.

Here is an updated timeline of the events and police investigation that spanned across western Canada.

Fort Nelson Double Homicide

July 12: McLeod and Schmegelsky leave their homes in Port Alberni, B.C. and head north.

On the same day, they legally purchase one SKS semi-automatic rifle and a box of ammunition in Nanaimo, B.C., using McLeod’s licence.

July 14: Surveillance footage shows them at a gas station in Fort Nelson.

July 15: At approximately 7:19 a.m., Fort Nelson RCMP respond to a report of two deceased persons near Highway 97 in British Columbia, about 3.5 hours north of Fort Nelson.

The two bodies are located near a blue van with an Alberta licence plate registered to Lucas Fowler, and it appeared the deaths were caused by gunshot wounds.

Meanwhile, by that time Schmegelsky and McLeod have travelled up to Whitehorse, Yukon.

July 15-17: Police get a search warrant for the Fort Nelson van over the next couple of days and find identification belonging to Lucas Robertson Fowler, a 23-year-old Australian citizen, and Chynna Noel Deese, a 24-year-old American citizen. The two were on vacation together, travelling to the Yukon.

Police determine they were last seen alive the night of July 14 around 10:40 p.m.

Dease Lake Homicide

July 18: Police share the identities of the two deceased to help with the investigation that had not yet established a motive or suspect.

By now, Schmegelsky and McLeod had made their way over to Dease Lake, B.C.

July 19: About 60 kilometres south of Dease Lake and 500 kilometres from the Fort Nelson murders (or a 7.5 hour drive), RCMP respond to a vehicle fire on Highway 37.

Later that day, RCMP find a deceased man about two kilometres south of the burnt vehicle, which is determined to be a Dodge pick-up truck and registered to McLeod.

A burnt Dodge pick-up truck registered to Kam McLeod was found near Dease Lake, B.C.

RCMP

A coroner believes a single bullet wound was the cause of death, and a bullet casing is found nearby that has the same markings as ones discovered at the Fort Nelson scene, effectively connecting the murders.

The deceased was later identified as Leonard Dyck, who was a 64-year-old botany lecturer at the University of British Columbia who left his Vancouver residence on July 16 in his silver Toyota RAV4 to go on an outdoor research trip.

Late that day, police visit McLeod’s family, who say he left with his friend Schmegelsky on a trip to northern B.C. on July 12, and that they are good kids. They are not suspects at the time.

By this time, the two are seen in the silver RAV4 at a Kitwanga gas station, about 420 kilometres south of the Dease Lake murder scene. They later purchase a crowbar and electrical tape at a hardware store, which RCMP believe they used to change the vehicles’ appearance.

Kam Mcleod and Bryer Schmegelsky appear to have put electrical tape on the van’s hood and rear wheel to change its appearance.

Kam Mcleod and Bryer Schmegelsky appear to have put electrical tape on the van’s hood and rear wheel to change its appearance.

RCMP

July 20: The two are seen in Fairview, Alta., making purchases at a gas station.

July 21: McLeod and Schmegelsky arrive in Saskatchewan.

July 22: A witness who knew McLeod and Schmegelsky tell police the two may have been involved in the murders. The two teenagers now become suspects in the homicide cases.

By this time, they are observed at a McDonald’s in Thompson, Man..

Manhunt begins

July 22: RCMP discover a burnt RAV4 in Gillam, Man. and believe it is connected to the suspects.

The burnt RAV4.

The burnt RAV4.

RCMP

July 23: Manitoba RCMP alert the public the two suspects might be in the Gillam area and are considered dangerous.

That afternoon, RCMP officers search the area and an RCMP plane with infrared scans the area by night.

July 24: The RAV4 is confirmed to belong to Leonard Dyck.

July 25-27: RCMP search the Gillam area, and are assisted by the Royal Canadian Air Force beginning July 27.

July 29: Several items belonging to the suspects, including ammunition, are found in the Sundance area, narrowing the search to the area.

August 1: McLeod’s backpack containing his wallet, clothing and ammunition is found.

August 7: Police find two deceased bodies eight kilometres from the burnt RAV4, along with two SKS semi-automatic rifles and empty cartridges. The rifles are determined to be the same used in the homicides.

northern B.C. murders

The evidence found in Manitoba.

RCMP

The search has ended.

Videos were recovered that featured the two confessing to the three murders and saying they plan to commit suicide, according to the RCMP. They showed no remorse for the killings and had planned to find more people to kill, the RCMP report details.

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Lieutenant governor urged to withhold assent on bill 22

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NDP leader Rachel Notley has asked Alberta’s lieutenant-governor to deny assent of Bill 22, controversial legislation introduced Monday that would fire Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson in the middle of his investigation into the UCP leadership race.

The race was won by Premier Jason Kenney in October 2017.

Gibson has been focusing on the so-called “kamikaze” leadership bid of Jeff Callaway since he took office last year and has laid more than $200,000 in fines against 15 people involved.

The Callaway and Kenney campaigns are alleged to have conspired to bring down Kenney’s main opponent Brian Jean. Both men deny the collaboration.

Notley sent a letter on Tuesday to Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell urging her to take action on a bill Notley calls a “misuse of the authority of the legislature” and “a threat to our democratic institutions” — particularly since the government has moved to limit time for debate.

Position would be terminated

“While I recognize that it is unusual for the lieutenant-governor to exercise this authority, I am convinced that the exceptional nature of this proposed legislation calls for such extraordinary measures,” Notley writes.

The move to fire Gibson is part of Bill 22, an omnibus-style bill introduced Monday.

The proposed legislation would dissolve the independent office of the election commissioner and change the scope of the position so it reports to Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler.

Gibson’s contract, which was in place until 2023, would be terminated upon passage and royal assent of the bill.

The government claims the move achieves greater efficiency and saves $1 million over five years.

Critics say that by removing Gibson, Premier Jason Kenney is thwarting additional investigations into the race.

Finance Minister Travis Toews, the minister responsible for Bill 22, said Resler is free to rehire Gibson if he chooses. Toews said the change will have no effect on ongoing investigations.

The NDP will also seek an emergency debate on the bill Tuesday afternoon. Since the UCP has a majority in the Alberta legislature, the request likely will not be granted.

Notley said on Monday the NDP caucus will also be seeking advice on what legal steps can be taken to stop the government from firing Gibson.

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Snowfall hits Calgary, surrounding area

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Calgary drivers are in for a slow and slippery morning commute as the city gets a little blast of winter weather.

Calgary is expected to see 10 to 15 centimetres of snowfall on Tuesday, according to a warning from Environment Canada.

The agency says a low pressure system swept into southwestern Alberta late Monday and tracked east early Tuesday morning.

The snow is expected to taper off by Wednesday morning.

“Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow,” the warning read.

Traffic was slow on Parkdale Boulevard N.W. as snow continued to fall Tuesday morning. (Scott Crowson/CBC)

The Calgary International Airport is reminding travellers to arrive early and check for any flight-schedule changes due to the snowfall.

Calgary Transit says two bus routes — No. 6 and No. 20 — have been detoured because of the snowfall.

Police said there were six collisions on city streets between midnight and 6:30 a.m.

The snowfall warning also covers:

  • Airdrie, Cochrane, Olds and Sundre.
  • Okotoks, High River and Claresholm.
  • Brooks, Strathmore and Vulcan.
  • Medicine Hat, Bow Island and Suffield.

A complete list of weather warnings can be viewed on Environment Canada’s website.

Rachelle McNiel shovels snow on the sidewalk outside her home on 27th Street N.W. on Tuesday. (Scott Crowson/CBC)

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François-Philippe Champagne to be Canada’s next foreign affairs minister

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François-Philippe Champagne will be Canada’s new foreign affairs minister, CBC-Radio-Canada has learned.

Champagne, who served as the minister of infrastructure and communities in the last Parliament, will replace Chrystia Freeland as Canada’s top diplomat, tasked with stickhandling the sensitive U.S. and China files.

It’s not yet known where Freeland will be moved, but she is expected to preside over a crucial domestic role as regional tensions rise across the country.

Champagne, a former trade lawyer, has served as minister of international trade in the past.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will formally unveil his new cabinet at a ceremony at Rideau Hall Wednesday afternoon.

Radio-Canada is also reporting that Jonathan Wilkinson will be the new environment minister.

Pablo Rodriguez will be the government house leader, in charge of working with opposition parties and keeping the parliamentary agenda on track. It’s a position that takes on heightened importance in a minority government.

Steven Guilbeault, a high-profile Quebec environmental activist, will be the new heritage minister, according to sources with knowledge of the appointments who spoke to CBC-Radio Canada. The sources spoke on condition they not be named because they were not authorized to comment.

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