“He wants his hurt to end,” Alan Schmegelsky told the Press. “They’re going to go out in a blaze of glory. Trust me on this.”
The new revelations come as police conduct a manhunt for the teens in an unusual case that has reverberated across continents and stunned families in Canada, Australia and the United States. The investigation began when a couple traveling in Canada were found shot to death on the side of a highway, authorities say. Police then found the body of Leonard Dyck, from Vancouver, B.C., near a burning truck hundreds of miles away.
Canadian police on Tuesday named Bryer Schmegelsky and McLeod as suspects in all three killings. Although the pair have been missing since Sunday, authorities charged them with one count each of second-degree murder in connection with Dyck’s death. Police believe the pair had been traveling in the truck abandoned near Dyck’s body.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba confirmed that they recovered the remnants Monday of the second car that Schmegelsky and McLeod had been using — a Toyota RAV4, also set on fire.
Chynna Deese, of Charlotte, and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, had been touring Canada’s national parks when their bodies were discovered July 15 along Highway 97 in a remote part of British Columbia. Their blue 1986 Chevrolet van was found with them. Deese, 24, and Fowler, 23, were frequent travelers who had met overseas.
“They had mapped out their route,” Sheila Deese, Chynna’s mother, told WSOC-TV. “And, to my understanding, the van broke down, and that’s where the tragedy happened.”
Bryer may have become involved in the three deaths because he is in “very serious pain,” Schmegelsky told the Canadian Press. The father said he thought his son was trying to end that suffering.
“Basically, he’s going to be dead today or tomorrow. I know that,” Schmegelsky told the Press. “Rest in peace, Bryer. I love you. I’m so sorry all this had to happen.”
Bryer was 5 years old when his parents separated, according to the Press. He and McLeod became inseparable in elementary school, the Press reported, and were good kids who didn’t get into trouble together. But Bryer wasn’t nurtured, his father said, and didn’t experience milestones like learning to ride a bike or getting his driver’s license.
Bryer worked at a Walmart after he finished high school this year, according to the Press. He bought a black suit with his second paycheck.
“Now I realize it’s his funeral suit,” Schmegelsky told the Press.
Dissatisfied with his job, Bryer reportedly told his father that he was going to Alberta with McLeod to look for new work. Authorities believe Bryer and McLeod now may be in the town of Gillam in Manitoba, where their burned-out truck was found.
“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,” John McDonald, Gillam’s deputy mayor, told the Press. “I’m quite sure they’ll be more than happy to have someone find them.”
While police seek the teens, the victims’ families grieve. Fowler’s father, Stephen Fowler, a member of the New South Wales police department in Australia, traveled to British Columbia and provided a statement on Monday.
“We are just distraught,” he said after a police news conference. “This has really torn two families apart. Our son Lucas was having the time of his life traveling the world. He met a beautiful young lady. And they teamed up, they were a great pair, and they fell in love.”
Chynna Deese’s brother, British Deese, said the search for Bryer and McLeod gives him a slight sense of closure. He previously told The Washington Post that his sister “brought new things, new experiences, new people, new friends, and everything to everyone she met.”