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This article was published 6/8/2019 (301 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
GILLAM — RCMP confirmed Tuesday that items found abandoned on the shore of the Nelson River near Gillam are linked to two B.C murder suspects.
But they won't say what the items are, or how it was confirmed they're linked to Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod, who have been the subject of a cross-country manhunt for two weeks.
It's the first confirmed evidence the pair were in the remote northern Manitoba area since a burned-out RAV4 was found on July 22.
Schmegelsky and McLeod have been charged in the July 19 killing of Leonard Dyck and are suspects in the deaths of tourists Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese. A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for their arrests.
RCMP had scaled down their search in northern Manitoba, but on Friday found the items and a torn-up aluminum boat near the shore about nine kilometres from where the vehicle was abandoned.
Details about the items and their link to the suspects are not being released to protect the investigation, RCMP said.
A dive team was sent out Sunday but found no additional evidence, RCMP said Tuesday.
Still, Mounties remained on site, blocking road access. One vehicle drove up Tuesday afternoon to offer police a tip about birds of prey spotted flying in the area.
The RAV4 vehicle was found on PR 290, a unmaintained gravel road that leads to an abandoned camp site called Sundance and the Keewatinohk Converter Station, where 15 Hydro staff were working Tuesday on the other side of the RCMP blockade.
The road also leads to a recently closed camp site, Keewatinohk Lodge. No staff are there, a Hydro spokesperson said.
As the search continues for a second week, Hydro staff are still working in pairs and making sure keys aren’t left in vehicles, said spokesperson Scott Powell.
In addition to their regular duties, Hydro vehicles can be seen accompanying RCMP searchers.
"We want our staff to know that we’re behind them and we appreciate the work they’re doing under some pretty trying (circumstances)," Powell said.
Hydro counted its vehicles after the search began, and none are missing, he said.
The search is also only a few kilometres from Limestone Generating Station, and Hydro already had policies in place requiring regular check-ins for staff working alone, Powell said.
"We also asked staff, when this started, not to work alone on service calls or outside of secure sites, to make sure they travel in pairs, and asked them to remove and secure all keys from unattended vehicles," he said.
"We just wanted to make sure that everybody who has keys, that they’re accounted for... we wanted to make sure no one inadvertently left a key in a vehicle, so we asked everyone to check," he said. "But our formal policy is no, you don’t leave keys in vehicles. Always good to just remind people."
Staff were also asked to keep an eye out and report anything suspicious to RCMP.
"Nobody’s seen anything, as far as we know," Powell said.
That information was passed on to Hydro contractors as well, he said.
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Updated on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 6:32 PM CDT: Removes related item.