VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Canadian police said Wednesday the military is pulling out of the search for two teenagers suspected of killing three people and launching a manhunt using helicopters, drones, boats and dogs that has lasted nine days and stretched across three provinces in the country’s remote north.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Insp. Kevin Lewis said the force has decided they no longer needed military assistance. At one point a military Hercules aircraft was used in the search.
“We want to again be focused with our own resources and determine where we should go from here,” Lewis said.
Nineteen-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, a University of British Columbia professor whose body was found last week in British Columbia.
They are also suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina, whose bodies were found July 15 along the Alaska Highway about 300 miles (500 kilometers) from where Dyck was killed.
Ground and air searches will continue around Gillam, Manitoba, the last place Schmegelsky and McLeod were confirmed to have been seen. A vehicle that had been used by the suspects was found burned last week near the town, about 660 miles (1,100 kilometer) north of Winnipeg.
The hunt involves 40 police. RCMP also said they will be returning to Fox Lake Cree Nation, where they have previously done door-to-door searches.
On Tuesday, police abandoned their search for the pair in York Landing, a small community near Gillam. The search was prompted by a tip from a neighborhood watch group, but police said there were no sign of the teenagers.
People familiar with the area in northern Manitoba being searched in recent days says the terrain is dense and swampy, and inhabited by wildlife like bears and swarms of insects.