BC RCMP are searching for two missing Vancouver Island teens after their vehicle was found burning on the side of a northern BC highway near a dead body last week.
The investigation began on Friday, July 19th, after Dease Lake RCMP received a report of a truck fire south of the Stikine River Bridge on Highway 37.
As officers arrived at the scene, they found an unoccupied still-burning truck in the area. Then, while police were investigating the vehicle, a passing motorist told officers that they had just passed what they believed to be a body at a nearby highway pullout.
Officers then travelled to the pullout and found the body of a deceased male.
Two days later, on July 21st, police identified the absent occupants of the burning truck as two Vancouver Island teenagers, 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky.
Police say that McLeod and Schmegelsky are Port Alberni residents who were travelling through BC to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory to look for work.
According to RCMP, the pair had not been in contact with their family for several days before their truck was discovered, and have been declared as missing.
Police have confirmed that the male body found at the highway pullout near the burned vehicle is not McLeod or Schmegelsky. RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are working to identify the deceased male and say that it is unclear if there is a connection to the pair of teenagers at this time.
“Kam and Bryer have periodically connected with family and friends over the past week and it is possible that they are now in area without cell coverage,” said Dawn Roberts, BC RCMP, in a statement.
“However, we have found their vehicle and have not been able to locate either of them at this time.”
“We are asking for Kam or Bryer to connect with police right away and let us know you are okay. Or we ask that anyone who may have spoken to or seen them over the last few days to call police so we can get a better understanding as to where they might be or their plans.”
19-year-old Kam McLeod is described as standing 6’ 4” and weighs approximately 169 pounds. He has dark brown hair, brown eyes, and facial hair.
18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky is also described as standing 6’ 4” and weighing approximately 169 pounds. He has sandy brown hair.
The pair were last seen leaving a Super A general store in Dease Lake on Thursday, July 18th. They left the store travelling south in their red and grey Dodge pickup truck with an attached sleeping camper with BC License plate LW6433.
A picture of the vehicle is below:
Meanwhile, police say that they are aware of “growing community concerns” about a recent string of missing persons and homicide investigations in the area.
Days before McLeod and Schmegelsky’s truck was discovered, a young couple was found dead roughly 470 kilometres away on a remote stretch of highway between July 14-15th.
According to police, the couple were travelling through northern BC to Alaska via the province’s Alaska Highway in a camper van.
“At this time, investigators are sharing information and police would like to ensure awareness around both investigations,” said BC RCMP in a statement.
“The RCMP would ask the public to continue to take any general safety precautions and remain vigilant at this time.”
Safety precautions that police recommend while travelling include sharing plans with family and friends, establishing check-in times, and notifying people if your travelling plans change.
Anyone with information on McLeod and Smegelsky is asked to contact Dease Lake RCMP at 250-771-4111. Alternatively, you can report anonymously to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.