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20Dec

New details emerge in slaying of UBC botany lecturer by Port Alberni teens

by admin

Court records show there were four crimes scenes related to the killing of UBC botany lecturer Leonard Dyck last summer.

The recently released records — showing the evidence RCMP needed to obtain a search warrant — state that Dease Lake RCMP went to a pullout on Highway 37, 60 km south of Dease Lake in the far north, at 7:20 a.m. on Friday, July 19, after a report that a truck had burned there and was still smouldering. Police called that Scene 1.

Police arrived half an hour later and found a destroyed 1993 red Dodge pickup and camper, identified later that day as belonging to teen killer Kam McLeod, who, along with Bryer Schmegelsky, murdered three people in July.

At about 8:30 a.m., as RCMP Const. David Ribiero was about to drive south to Iskut, road worker William Sjodin pulled in and said he had just seen a dead man in another highway pullout 2.5 km south.

“There’s a dead body in the pit south of here,” Sjodin told police.

Sjodin and Ribiero then drove to that pullout, called Scene 2, and found Dyck’s body. He had died from multiple injuries — zap straps and a shell casing were found near Dyck’s body. According to the police report, Dyck “bled out at the scene,” as a result of injuries from an edged weapon and a gunshot wound.


Leonard Dyck is seen in March of 2017 in Clover Point Park in Victoria.

Patrick Martone/UBC

Two hours later, Ribiero was told that two highway maintenance workers had dealt with a garbage bin fire from the night before on the south side of the Stikine Bridge. This became Scene 3.

Ribiero went to Scene 3 and, while he was there, a truck driver approached him and said that he saw the bin ablaze at about 10:40 p.m. the night before.

At 3:10 p.m. on July 19, a witness stopped by Scene 2, where Dyck had been found, and advised that there was a bathroom by the Stikine River that was covered in blood. Cpl. Al Smith was sent to that scene, where he found large blood drops on the floor and interior walls of the toilet. The toilet was on the south side of the Stikine Bridge and became crime Scene 4.

Just after midnight on July 20, RCMP went to the home of McLeod and told his parents the vehicle had been found. They learned that McLeod and Schmegelsky had left their homes in Port Alberni on July 12 and had contacted family on three occasions since then. At that point, police believed there was evidence in McLeod’s vehicle that could be linked to Dyck’s murder.


Teen fugitives Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod from CCTV images taken in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.

RCMP

RCMP revealed to the public three days later, on July 23, that McLeod and Schmegelsky were prime suspects.

As a result of the evidence, the police were issued a warrant to search the burned-out vehicle.

McLeod and Schmegelsky were found dead from suicide on Aug. 7 in remote Manitoba after a manhunt.

Tourists Lucas Fowler from Australia and Chynna Deese from the U.S. were also murdered, on July 15 by the side of the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs.

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dcarrigg@postmedia.com

twitter.com/davidcarrigg

Timeline of the triple murders committed in B.C. last summer by teen killers Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky

For close to a month last summer, Canadians were gripped with a cross-country manhunt for two Port Alberni teens who had decided for reasons unknown to leave their hometown on a murderous rampage that left three dead.

A consortium of media outlets, including Postmedia News, asked the court for release of hundreds of pages of police documents used to secure several warrants to search homes and vehicles, obtain store records, cellphone records and records from other agencies.

Among the details never heard before is that a man apparently narrowly escaped being the fourth murder victim of the teenagers.

Based on those documents, here is timeline of events from Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, leaving Port Alberni to the discovery of their bodies 27 days later.



Copy of surveillance video showing Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, leaving Cabella’s, an outfitter store in Nanaimo, carrying the box with the SKS carbine they had just purchased, the day they headed north to begin their murderous rampage.

RCMP /

PNG

July 12

McLeod and Schmegelsky leave their Port Alberni homes, telling family and friends they are headed to the Yukon for work. Later that day they arrive at the Cabela’s outdoor gear store in Nanaimo and go straight to the firearm and ammunition section. Using McLeod’s possession and acquisition licence, the pair buy a Soviet SKS carbine, two magazines and 20 rounds of 7.62-mm ammunition.


July 13

Lucas Fowler, an Australian, and Chynna Deese, an American, leave Hudson Hope on a trip north to Alaska.


July 14


In this undated photo provided by the Deese family of Chynna Deese, 23-year-old Australian Lucas Fowler, left, and 24-year-old American girlfriend Chynna Deese poses for a selfie.

Chynna Deese /

The Associated Press

On Sunday evening, tourist Charles Ray is driving on Highway 97 — 20 km south of Liard Hot Springs — when he notices a broken-down van. He stops to help. Fowler and Deese tell him they plan to call a tow truck, eventually (the area they are stopped has no cellphone coverage.) Ray camps three kilometres away and plans to check on them in the morning. On this day, numerous people stop to talk to the couple and offer help, while some passersby contact the RCMP.

Road maintenance worker Alandra Hull drives past the van and notes a man in the middle of the road, facing a man and woman who are close to the van. They are in a heated conversation.

Fowler and Deese are last seen alive at 7:15 p.m.


July 15

3:25 a.m. — McLeod’s truck with its white camper stops at the Contact Creek Gas Station on Highway 97, 160 km north of where the couple’s van is broken down.

4:16 a.m. — McLeod’s truck observed 220kms north of the crime scene.

6:20 a.m. — A transport truck driver sees two bodies in the ditch, close to the van, and stops. The bodies are cold.

6:47 a.m. — Hull asks a colleague to drive to the scene to check on the couple. That colleague finds the distraught trucker directing traffic. Two tourists also stop at the scene and note the bodies are both face down with their hands loosely at their sides. They are 10 feet from the van, and about 15 feet from each other.

7:22 a.m. — RCMP Prince George’s operational communications centre gets a call from Hull reporting that two dead bodies had been spotted in a ditch by the side of the road. She had been alerted by a driver who spotted the bodies. Other witnesses also call police.

8:20 a.m. — Fort Nelson RCMP, the nearest detachment, is advised.

9:15 a.m. — Ray, as he had planned, attempts to return to check on the couple. He is stopped by a road maintenance crew.


The blue 1986 Chevrolet van that was driven by Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, of the United States and Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23 of Australia, who were found dead near Liard Hot Springs

HANDOUT /

REUTERS

10:30 a.m. — Fort Nelson RCMP officers arrive and five spent shell cases are located nearby. It’s noted the blue 1986 Chevrolet Van is licensed to Fowler and had the side door open and the back window shattered. A local coroner arrives and it’s noted Fowler and Deese’s bodies have entry and exit bullet wounds.

The RCMP major crimes unit is advised and determine Fowler entered Canada on April 16, 2019, while Deese arrived on July 6, 2019. The pair had travelled to Bosnia together in November, 2017.

4 p.m. — McLeod’s truck is seen parking at a gas station near Whitehorse, Yukon.


July 16 

9:15 a.m. — RCMP major crimes officers arrive a the shooting scene. They note the van is parked on the shoulder of the northbound lane, near a culvert that goes under the highway. There are footprints leading south from the van. Inside the van is Deese’s cellphone and Bank of America visa card.  Fowler’s phone was not located.

Leonard Dyck leaves Vancouver in his Toyota RAV 4 on a road trip to Northern B.C. to watch grizzlies. He tells his wife he will be back on July 24.


July 17

Dyck texts his wife.

McLeod makes last contact with his family in Port Alberni, saying he and Schmegelsky are in Whitehorse.

Ken Albertson, of Alaska, pulls over for a nap in a pullout on the Alaska Highway shortly after fuelling up his vehicle in Haines Junction, Yukon. This is about 800 kilometres by road from where the young tourist couple were murdered.

Within five minutes, he spots a white truck pull over 50 metres ahead of him on the same side of the road.

A male passenger gets out of the truck with what Albertson says is a long gun and heads towards the treeline on the side of the road. Suddenly, Albertson told police, the man’s body language changes and he begin creeping toward Albertson “in a tactical or hunting stance.” Then white truck also started moving slowly toward him.

Albertson said he quickly started his own truck and drove away, passing the white truck. Albertson said he tried to get a look at the driver, but he covered his face with a hand and turned his head away as Albertson drove by.

Police received this information on July 22.


July 18

Dyck texts his wife for the last time. Police confirm publicly that the deceased are Fowler and Deese and their families are notified.

Schmegelsky’s debit card was last used on July 18 on the Alaska Highway. Later, McLeod and Schmegelsky are seen buying goods (including gloves and a chocolate bar later found at the Dyck crime scene) in Dease Lake.


July 19 


The vehicle Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were travelling in.

Dease Lake RCMP is called early in the morning with reports of a burning truck in a pullout on Highway 37. While at the scene, police are told a body has just been found in a pullout a few kilometres south. At this point the body, is not identified. It has numerous injuries and has a pool of blood alongside it. It’s later determined Dyck died from a gunshot wound from McLeod’s SKS rifle.

11:40 a.m. — McLeod and Schmegelsky are seen at a gas station near Terrace in Dyck’s RAV 4.

It is determined the burned truck belongs to McLeod and police release pictures of McLeod and Schmegelsky, who at this point are considered simply missing and are not suspects. Through the vehicle’s insurance, police determine McLeod’s parents’ names.

Autopsies are conducted on Fowler and Deese at the Abbotsford Regional Hospital where it is noted the couple had entry and exit gunshot wounds.


July 20


Sketch of man, as described by highway worker Alandra Hull, of the man she observed standing by the blue van, later identified as belonging to a tourist couple, on the Alaska Highway (Hwy 97) near Liard Hot Springs.

RCMP /

PNG

Police release a composite image of the man who Hull saw speaking to Fowler and Deese on the night before their murders. Police speak to McLeod’s parents and aunt to say the burned vehicle had been found and they were concerned for his safety. They learn McLeod and Schmegelsky are close friends and had quit their Walmart jobs and were headed to the Yukon. The pair, who are both slim and very tall, have hunted before.

Police speak to Schmegelsky’s grandmother, who confirms the pair had left on a spur-of-the-moment trip north. Before leaving, Schmegelsky had been rejected by a girl. Police then interview McLeod’s girlfriend, who says the pair had been saving for the trip and that on July 13 he had told her by text that the pair would not be returning.

3 p.m. — A white car is seen speeding north on Highway 37.


July 21

7 p.m. — The killers are seen at a gas station in La Ronge, Saskatchewan.


July 23

Police determine McLeod and Schmegelsky were keen gamers. Vancouver police confirm the ammunition casings from the Highway 97 and Highway 37 crime scenes were both 7.62 mm.


July 22

McLeod and Schmegelsky are seen at a store in Meadow Lake, Sask., driving a Toyota RAV 4 and are publicly identified as suspects.


RCMP released a composite sketch of the man whose body was found two kilometres south from empty truck belonging to Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky.

Helen Dyck contacts the RCMP after seeing the drawing of her husband that had been released that day. She tells police her husband loved to drive and see new places as a way of relaxing. He would sleep in his car on the side of the road, usually in pullouts, though he had a tent. She said he was a lecturer at UBC.

Gillam RCMP in Northern Manitoba get a report of vehicle fire in a remote location.


July 24

Canada-wide warrants are issued for the arrest of McLeod and Schmegelsky.


July 25

RCMP get a search warrant for Cabela’s in Nanaimo.


July 26

Police search the homes of McLeod and Schmegelsky and recover maps and ammunition.


July 29


The RCMP believe Kam McLeod shot Bryer Schmegelsky before shooting himself in a suicide pact. Their bodies were found about eight kilometres away from the burned RAV4 that belonged to Leonard Dyck.

RCMP handout

During a search near where Dyck’s RAV 4 was found burned, police find dozens of unspent rounds of  ammunition on the ground.


Aug 1

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


Aug 7 

Police find the killers dead, eight kilometres from where the burned the RAV 4.

They have left a series of videos in which they admit to the killings and have no regrets. The video camera belonged to Dyck. They also claimed they were going to hike to Hudson Bay, hijack a boat and go to Europe or Africa. Police say they died in a suicide pact.

dcarrigg@postmedia.com

14Sep

Former Port Alberni mayor pushes for drug decriminalization as path to treatment

by admin

https://vancouversun.com/


John Douglas, special projects co-ordinator for the Port Alberni Shelter Society and a former mayor and councillor for the city. [PNG Merlin Archive]


Submitted: John Douglas / PNG

The former mayor of Port Alberni has released a report in which he supports calls for drug decriminalization in order to protect British Columbians from overdoses and other related harm, and help them find appropriate treatment.

John Douglas, who was a paramedic for 23 years, wrote “Working Towards a Solution: Resolving the Case between Crime and Addiction” following an information-gathering trip to Portugal, and recently released it to the media.

Douglas, now special projects co-ordinator for the Port Alberni Shelter Society, explained Thursday that the paper is not a scientific analysis, but rather a “from-my-gut” exploration of what he has learned while working in the fields of social housing, mental health, poverty and addiction.

He calls for the province to engage doctors, lawyers and police, as well as the public, to make addiction and possession of addictive substances solely a health issue, under healthy ministry jurisdiction. He wants the government to develop a supply model for addictive drugs to eliminate health problems associated with contaminated street drugs.

More than 4,300 people have died of an illicit-drug overdose in B.C. since the provincial government declared a public health emergency in April, 2016. Fentanyl was detected in most cases.

Douglas recommends the development of long-term, affordable and flexible treatment communities and “health teams” to provide services. He asks the province to tell the federal government “politely and firmly” that it intends to move forward with a pilot program which is open to federal participation.

“I’ve been a politician myself — no higher than a municipal level — but I find political people, as well-meaning as they are, tend to lag behind movements, sometimes, in society,” Douglas said. “I’ve talked to so many people in the health, enforcement and legal fields that all agree (addiction) should be treated as a health issue, but the political end is lagging behind because they’re afraid of losing votes or saying the wrong thing and offending somebody.”

Douglas entered politics in 2008 as a councillor in Port Alberni and served as mayor from 2011 to 2014. After the fentanyl-related overdose crisis emerged, he helped bring a sobering centre and overdose prevention and inhalation sites to the city.

His decades of experience in health care and helping people who have addictions helped him come to the conclusion that people with addictions should be in health care, not the criminal justice system.

Earlier this year, he attended a forum in Portugal where he learned about the country’s approach to addiction and overdoses. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs for personal use in response to a surge in heroin use.

“With the shelter, we’re working toward researching models of therapeutic communities that could work for treatment, if and when we can get the government to start moving in the direction of decriminalization and the direction of adequate treatment for people with addictions, instead of these pathetic 30- to 60-day treatment programs that are commonplace over here,” Douglas said.

Decriminalization would apply to all drugs — even heroin and methamphetamine — but falls short of legalization, which removes prohibitions but also develops regulations for the production, sale and use of a substance (Canada’s approach to cannabis is an example).

In a special report released last April, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged the B.C. government to implement decriminalization for simple possession for personal use.

Henry said B.C. could use its powers under the Police Act to allow the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor-General to set broad provincial priorities with respect to people who use drugs. Or it could enact a regulation under the act to prevent police from using resources to enforce against simple possession offences under the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Solicitor-General Mike Farnworth shot down Henry’s proposal, saying laws around the possession of controlled substances remain federal and “no provincial action can change that.”

Douglas sides with Henry on the issue.

“I wanted to be an additional voice to echo those findings,” he said. “I agree wholeheartedly with her. We don’t have to wait for the federal government to do this.”

neagland@postmedia.com

twitter.com/nickeagland

24Jul

Port Alberni rocked by national manhunt for local teens after first believing the pair was lost in the bush

by admin

PORT ALBERNI — The blue sky and lush greenery surrounding the chalet-style home across the street from beautiful Sproat Lake belied the pain, confusion and fear that must have been felt by the people inside.

It’s the home of 19-year-old Kam McLeod, who with his friend, 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky, is the subject of a manhunt that has now moved to remote northeastern Manitoba, almost 3,000 kilometres from where the bodies of two tourists were found on July 15 that sparked a Canada-wide search.

Set in an idyllic, rural and recreational setting, Sproat Lake is a 20-minute drive from central Port Alberni.

Inside the home were McLeod’s parents and, judging by the number of vehicles parked outside the home, supportive family and friends. Phone calls to Keith McLeod, Kam’s dad, went unanswered and private-property signs warned unwanted visitors to stay away.


CP-Web. Alan Schmegelsky, father of Bryer Schmegelsky, poses for a photo.

Laura Kane /

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Keith McLeod had earlier issued a statement saying the family felt trapped in their home, worried about their son, trying to wrap their heads around the head-spinning developments of the past three days, and praying Kam would come home safely.

Even the FBI had visited, according to a friend of the McLeods, who asked not to be identified — 24-year-old Chynna Deese of North Carolina and her boyfriend, 23-year-old Lucas Fowler of Australia, were the first two victims of murder the RCMP have said two Port Alberni teens are wanted for.

A third victim was identified by police on Wednesday as Leonard Dyck of Vancouver. Police have formally charged the Port Alberni duo with his second-degree murder.

Related

Phone calls to the home of Caroline Starkey, maternal grandmother to Schmegelsky and with whom the teen had been living for the past two years, went unanswered.

Three passing vehicles slowed down to look menacingly at a Postmedia reporter and photographer. “Leave them alone!” one elderly man who had stopped his pickup truck yelled.

“Everybody I’ve talked to is in shock,” said Susie Quinn, editor of the Alberni Valley News. “This went from being two kids who were missing, to overnight being suspects in three deaths, that’s the sense I get.”


Security camera images recorded in Saskatchewan of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are displayed as RCMP Sgt. Janelle Shoihet speaks during a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on July 23, 2019.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

A street poll of residents showed a community unsure of what to say or how to feel until the ordeal plays itself out.

“It could happen anywhere,” a cashier who said McLeod’s parents are regular customers said.

“They seem like nice people,” added her colleague. “I don’t know anything about their son.”

Employees at the high school the two attended (Alberni District Secondary), at School District 70 headquarters, and at Walmart (where the two boys briefly worked) had all been instructed to say nothing.

One waitress downtown said she had known Kam McLeod, but hadn’t seen him in at least two years.

“I remember him as a nice kid,” she said. “I’m shocked.”

Added a customer inside a fast-food-joint: “What can you do? I’m just glad they didn’t do it here.”

gordmcintyre@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordmcintyre




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4Jun

‘This shouldn’t be happening’: Port Coquitlam cab ride ends with customer calling RCMP

by admin

A Port Coquitlam woman with a disability said she recently had to call the RCMP after a cab ride that had her questioning her safety.

Gayle Hunter said she booked a Bel-Air Taxi online on May 24, for a ride to work at a school not far away.

“I have problems with my legs some days and I wasn’t feeling up to walking,” Hunter told CTV News Vancouver.

She said during the ride, the driver informed her he hadn’t turned the meter on.

“I wanted to kind of inform him if you don’t have that on, your customer doesn’t have to pay, so you know, something you should be aware of,” Hunter said.

She said the driver then started yelling and driving away from her route.

“I said where are you going? Like, where are you taking me? And he’s like, I don’t have to take you there, I can take you anywhere,” Hunter said.

Hunter said she insisted the driver turn around, and called the cab company. When they eventually arrived at the school, she said the driver grabbed the cash fare she had in her hand.

“My hand flies back, he’s got the bill, the change goes flying, and I yell, because it hurt,” Hunter said.

Hunter said she called the RCMP and contacted Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, who posted about her complaint online. Stewart said it’s an example of why people need more options, such as ride-hailing.

“It is outrageous that a disabled person could be actually held in a cab,” Stewart told CTV News Vancouver.

“It scares me for other residents who might not have had the wherewithal she had,” Stewart said.

Bel-Air Taxi manager Shawn Bowden does not agree the driver deviated from the route.

He says their GPS records show the cab made a series of right hand turns to get to the school.

“It wasn’t taken on a wild goose chase or something like that, no. But maybe she just didn’t understand that,” Bowden said.

However, Bowden said the meter should have been on.

“I apologize for the service. And I have talked to the customer, and I have apologized, it shouldn’t have happened,” Bowden said.

Hunter said she has taken cabs since then, but the experience has made her more cautious.

“This shouldn’t be happening,” Hunter said.

The RCMP said charges are not being pursued in the case.


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