The father of one of two Canadian murder suspects said he still doesn’t believe his late son killed three people—and praised him for evading police before reportedly taking his own life last week.
Speaking with Australia’s “60 Minutes,” Alan Schmegelsky recalled feeling elated upon learning that his son, Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and his son’s friend, Kam McLeod, 19, evaded a checkpoint in Manitoba last month, launching a nearly three-week manhunt. Film crews for “60 Minutes” followed the father around for two weeks—and were present on Wednesday when he learned that the teens’ bodies were found, according to 9News.com.au.
“These boys are smart, they’re intelligent…kudos, boys, kudos,” he told “60 Minutes” in an episode that aired on Sunday night.
Alan Schmegelsky went on to tell “60 Minutes” reporter Sarah Abo that he doesn’t believe his 18-year-old son killed anyone. While he admitted that his son’s upbringing wasn’t the best, he described him as a quiet kid who was raised on video games and YouTube.
“You may think he’s a monster but he’s my son, he’s my Bryer,” he said.
“I didn’t meet that monster…that’s not who I know.”
On Monday, the Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP) confirmed that the teens died of self-inflicted gunshots and said firearms were located near their bodies. News 1130 reported that the murder suspects were possibly dead for days before they were found in some brush close to the Nelson River in Gillam, Manitoba.
The town of Gillam is located approximately 2,000 miles from British Columbia, where three slayings occurred last month. According to ABC News, Bryer Schmegelsky and McLeod were charged with the second-degree murder of Leonard Dyck, 64, a botanist who was found dead a mile from the teens’ burning camper on July 19.
The teens are considered suspects in the murders of North Carolina woman Chynna Deese, 24, and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, 24, who were found shot dead off a highway near Liard Hot Springs on July 15.
Nevertheless, Alan Schmegelsky remains unconvinced that his late son was a murderer until he sees some proof.
According to The Canadian Press, Deese’s sister recently accused Alan Schmegelsky of playing the victim and failing to take responsibility for his son’s actions. In a since-deleted Facebook post, Kennedy Deese said the only “sorrow” the murder suspect’s father has had is for himself.
She reportedly also rebuffed claims that Alan Schmegelsky is “cut from the same cloth” as her family, asserting that they had “no doings” in his pain while he played a direct role in theirs.
“To the murderers and their family, the appropriate action when mistakes are made is taking responsibility,” she reportedly wrote on Saturday. “The proper public response would have been a genuine apology. But we still forgive you and have mercy.”
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[Featured image: Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky/Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP)]