(CTV) The intense manhunt for two young men who are wanted in connection with three homicides in British Columbia has narrowed to the dense wilderness outside a small town in northern Manitoba.
Over the past week, heavily armed police officers from across the country have descended on the community of Gillam, Man. in search of 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky.
RCMP believe the childhood friends from Port Alberni on Vancouver Island have been hiding out in the rugged wooded area beyond the town after fleeing east across the country from B.C. in a stolen vehicle.
That vehicle, a 2011 Toyota Rav4 SUV, was discovered burned and abandoned near Fox Lake Cree Nation, approximately 55 kilometres northeast of Gillam, on Monday evening.
In the days since, investigators have confirmed the burned-out SUV was the same one used by the suspects to travel across the country, setting off alarm bells for the remote town of 1,200 people.
Gillam’s residents have been on edge for four days as uniformed officers continue to patrol the area and search vehicles at a checkpoint on the only road in and out of town.
Members of the community have told CTV News they’re locking their doors and securing their vehicles – something they never had to do in the past. One man told CTV News Winnipeg’s Jeff Keele that he’s been sleeping on his couch with his gun beside him out of concern for his safety.