The manhunt for two young men suspected in the killing of three people in Canada shifted to a remote community of about 500 after police received a tip on the suspects’ whereabouts, authorities said Monday.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police urged residents of York Landing, a small community in Manitoba located along the eastern bank of the Nelson River, to “stay inside & check all doors & windows to ensure they are closed & locked.”
Investigators had focused the search over the weekend on Gillam, a tight-knit community of about 1,000 people, before turning their efforts about 90 kilometers (55 miles) southwest away to York Landing.
“Situation is ongoing. All possible RCMP resources continue to be used in the area of York Landing to safely apprehend two individuals matching the description of the suspects,” the RCMP Manitoba account tweeted.
Authorities have said Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are wanted in connection with three killings — a botany professor at the University of British Columbia and a young couple who was traveling across Canada.
The RCMP said they were searching cottages, cabins, waterways and other areas in and around York Landing for the suspects.
The killings have shocked the nation.
The bodies of the young couple — an American woman, Chynna Deese, 24, and her boyfriend from Australia, Lucas Fowler, 23 — were found on a remote highway in northern British Columbia two weeks ago. Authorities said the two had been shot to death. Fowler’s blue 1986 Chevrolet van sat nearby.
The couple had been traveling across the region to visit Canada’s national parks. Surveillance video showed the couple wrapping their arms around each other at a gas station just two days before they were killed.
“To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was traveling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating,” Fowler’s family said in a statement shortly after learning the news of the killings. “To know his beautiful girlfriend, Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina also lost her life in this violent event is too cruel.”
Deese’s mother said her daughter loved traveling and would be away for long periods of time — but she always came home.
“It just doesn’t seem real because in my mind I’m hoping she’s gonna come home,” Sheila Deese told CNN affiliate WBTV.
As police searched for clues into the couple’s killing, they found the body of Leonard Dyck, a botanist from Vancouver, about 300 miles from the earlier crime scene. Authorities said a burned-out camper — believed to have been used by the two suspects — was near Dyck’s body.