Canada murder: Family’s final wish as photos released
The teenage thrill killers who murdered Australian backpacker Lucas Fowler and two others before sparking one of Canada's biggest ever manhunts, planned more violence and expressed no remorse for the crimes before they took their own lives.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police yesterday released their report into how Kam McLeod, 18, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 19, murdered Mr Fowler - the 23 year old son of a senior NSW police officer - his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, and university lecturer Leonard Dyck, 64, in July, describing them as "random and crimes of opportunity".
But they were unable to shed any light on why they began the killings that lead to a 3000km, 15-day chase for them.
The 13-page report revealed the duo recorded several videos of themselves that included taking responsibility for the crimes on a camera taken from Mr Dyck.
"Interviews of McLeod and Schmegelsky's families, teachers and friends, seized evidence from search warrants and the six video recordings (left by the pair) did not reveal their motivation for the murders," the report stated.
"The investigative theory is that McLeod and Schmegelsky came across Fowler's van and targeted Fowler and Deese for unknown reasons before continuing up into the Yukon. McLeod and Schmegelsky returned to BC because they were having vehicle issues and came across Dyck who they killed for unknown reasons. McLeod and Schmegelsky burned their vehicle to cover up evidence and delay police before stealing Dyck's vehicle to facilitate further escape."
In a press conference that accompanied the release of the report, police said there was no evidence that the killings were planned and that the teenagers were solely responsible for the three deaths.
During a search of the pair's residences, nothing was found regarding "any pre-planning of the offences," police said.
Authorities also said the men acted as "a partnership" as opposed to one being the leader.
Police said the pair recorded video confessions and expressed "no remorse" for the shooting murders, saying they planned to kill more people and expected to be dead within a week.
After burning their stolen car near Gillam, Manitoba, they walked 8km through the wilderness with a plan to escape to Europe or Africa, but when they realised they wouldn't make it, they made a "suicide pact".
Police said they would not release the video recordings because "the videos may influence or inspire other individuals to carry out a targeted act of violence, essentially creating copycat killers".
"Those who commit mass casualty attacks or similar acts of violence are heavily inspired by previous attackers and their behaviours," the RCMP said.
"It is believed that the suspects may have made the video recordings for notoriety. Releasing them would not only be disrespectful to the families of the deceased - who are also concerned about the impacts of the release - and it could sensationalise the actions of the suspects. By not releasing the videos we want to mitigate the potential of other individuals being inspired to commit similar acts of violence."
The Fowler and Deese families yesterday released tributes to the lost pair, asking that they be remembered with joy.
"Our beloved Chynna was a ray of sun shine, and for her to be taken has made the world feel a bit darker," Ms Deese's family said.
"The loss we continue to endure is shattering, but Chynna's memories are a benediction to her genuine happiness and intense love of life. Throughout this tragedy, along with the help of many, they serve as our reminder of the good nature and peace humanity has the capacity to show. We hope Chynna's legacy continues to grow and her spark allows us to build each other up."
Mr Fowler's Australian family said they would have been celebrating his birthday on September 30.
"All we can do is remember our dear Lucas as a wonderful son and brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend. He was such a fun loving kid and grew into a thoughtful adult who cared for his family and friends. He had a great sense of humour and loved taking the mickey out of us. He had a love of adventure that inspired all," they said in a statement.
"We are immensely proud of Lucas and so happy that he found a life partner in Chynna."
They asked for his friends and loved ones to remember the pair on his birthday.
"It is a day to celebrate a great young man taken from us all far too early," they said.
"It would help us to know that Lucas' friends are thinking of both Lucas and Chynna on his birthday. It would be great to see you upload a photo of you raising a glass to Lucas and Chynna or putting up a photo from your album that reminds you of them."