Neighbors of two Canadian murder suspects who were found dead on August 7 say news of the 20-day manhunt for the teens may have permanently scarred their hometown.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced on Monday that 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky died from “suicide by gunfire” before their bodies were discovered in a remote area of Manitoba on August 7.
Many residents of Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island, have questioned what happened to McLeod and Schmegelsky, with many in the town rallying behind the teens’ parents.
“It’s a black eye for any community,” Mike Surrell, owner of the tourism company Lady Rose Marine Services in the town, told the New York Times. “People don’t expect this kind to thing to happen in a sleepy little town like this.”
Theories as to what happened to the teens and how the are connected to Deese, Fowler, and Dyck have circulated Port Alberni over the last month.
One resident told The Times that a popular theory circulating around town is that Dyck killed Fowler and Deese, and that McLeod and Schmegelsky killed Dyck after he went after them, prompting vigilantes to kill McLeod and Schmegelsky in Manitoba. There his no evidence backing this theory.
Many neighbors remember the teens as unremarkable. The teens were childhood friends who attended an alternative high school together.
While both worked at Walmart before their deadly road trip, the teens came from different backgrounds.
McLeod grew up in a neighborhood filled with million-dollar houses. Neighbors told The Times that McLeod seemed likable, and may have been influenced by Schmegelsky.
McLeod’s friend Branden McHale said he was generally a happy person.
“He didn’t have a lot of friends, but he was really funny,” he told the CBC.
Schmegelsky grew up with his grandmother in a small house off a busy highway across from a trailer park. His parents divorced when he was young. A classmate told The Times that Schmegelsky was a “troubled kid.”
“He was my only child. [I’ll] never get to hug him again, never get to spend time with him again,” he told “60 Minutes.” “At least I know where he is. His troubles are over. I’m so sad that he felt he had to take that road trip.”