While the eyes of the nation were transfixed on the high-profile pursuit of two teenaged accused killers from B.C. in recent weeks, the RCMP has continued to chase another alleged murderer who’s managed to fly under the radar.
The search for Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, may have come to an end with the grisly discovery of two bodies in the northern Manitoba bush this week, but the search for Derek Whisenand, 27, continues.
Whisenand, a fugitive currently on the run in Canada, is wanted in the recent killing of a senior citizen in Eastland County, Texas, roughly 170 kilometres southwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The local sheriff’s department found the body of 78-year-old Burton Duane Sanborn in his home on June 26 after they were called to conduct a well-being check. The preliminary autopsy reported he died from "severe trauma to the head."
On July 9 — six days before the B.C. teenagers are suspected to have begun their killing spree with the slayings of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese on the side of the Alaska Highway — Manitoba RCMP announced they believed Whisenand had illegally crossed into Manitoba from the United States sometime during the week of June 24.
His car was found abandoned close to the border, in Walhalla, N.D. American authorities believe he walked into Canada and was picked up by someone who drove him into Winnipeg on July 3.
Since initially reporting they believed he had illegally entered the country, the RMCP has not issued an update in the case.
"The RCMP regularly liaise with our partners, including U.S. authorities, on investigations that affect our respective countries. RCMP have received multiple tips on Whisenand and continue to investigate each one received to confirm its validity. At the present time, we continue to attempt to locate him," an RCMP spokeswoman said Friday.
The spokeswoman did not directly respond when asked if the RCMP believe Whisenand is still in Manitoba or if they will devote more resources toward his capture now that the search for Schmegelsky and McLeod has come to an end.
Whisenand is the subject of a Canadian arrest warrant and is believed to have crossed the border near Haskett, about 140 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.
RCMP previously said Whisenand, who is believed to be travelling with a large mixed-breed dog, may be armed and should be considered dangerous. Anyone who sees him should not approach him, but instead call 911, the Mounties said.
Photos released by law enforcement have shown Whisenand both with, and without, a goatee. He also has a pentagram tattoo on his lower left wrist. He is described as six feet tall, 230 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair.
Anyone with information related to his whereabouts is asked to call 911 or the RCMP Integrated Border Enforcement Team at 204-324-9177.
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.