Canada police: 2 teen fugitives took their own lives

Kam McLeod, 19 and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, suspects in the murder of an Australian tourist and his American girlfriend in northern British Columbia, and charged with the second-degree murder of Leonard Dyck, are seen in a combination of still images from undated CCTV taken in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan and released by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) July 26, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 13 August 2019

Canada police: 2 teen fugitives took their own lives

  • Police were investigating photographs of a swastika armband and a Hitler Youth knife that Schmegelsky allegedly sent online to a friend on the video-game network Steam

TORONTO: Canadian police said Monday they believe two teenage fugitives suspected of killing a North Carolina woman, her Australian boyfriend and another man took their own lives amid a nationwide manhunt.
The Manitoba Medical Examiner completed the autopsies and confirmed that two bodies found last week in dense bush in northern Manitoba province were indeed 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky. A police statement said they appeared to die by suicide.
McLeod and Schmegelsky were charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, a University of British Columbia lecturer whose body was found July 19 along a highway in British Columbia.
They were 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. The couple had met at a hostel in Croatia and their romance blossomed as they adventured across the US, Mexico, Peru and elsewhere, the woman’s older brother said.
A manhunt for the teenage suspects had spread across three provinces and involved the Canadian military. The suspects had not been seen since July 22, and their bodies were found near Gillam, Manitoba — more than 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) from northern British Columbia.
Police said in a statement McLeod and Schmegelsky were dead for a number of days before they were found, but said there were strong indications they had been alive for a few days after they were last seen. Two guns were located, and authorities are working to definitively confirm that the firearms are connected to the murders in British Columbia.
The British Columbia Prosecution Service said criminal charges don’t move forward if the person who has been accused is proven dead.
Police said items that were found on the shoreline of the Nelson River proved key in helping locate the suspects. Specialized teams began searching high-probability areas nearby, and on Wednesday morning, the two bodies were found within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of the objects.
The deaths of the three victims had shaken rural northern British Columbia and Manitoba.
Schmegelsky’s father, Alan Schmegelsky, said last month that he expected the nationwide manhunt to end in the death of his son, who he said was on “a suicide mission.”
McLeod and Schmegelsky grew up on Vancouver Island and worked together at a local Walmart before they set off on what their parents thought was a trip to Yukon for work.
They were originally considered missing persons and only became suspects later.
Police were investigating photographs of a swastika armband and a Hitler Youth knife that Schmegelsky allegedly sent online to a friend on the video-game network Steam.
Alan Schmegelsky said his son took him to an army surplus store about eight months ago in his small Vancouver Island hometown of Port Alberni, where his son was excited about the Nazi artifacts.


Biggest swimming pool in Russia’s Muslim south bans women, causing outcry

Updated 22 January 2020

Biggest swimming pool in Russia’s Muslim south bans women, causing outcry

MOSCOW: The biggest swimming pool in Russia’s Muslim-majority North Caucasus region has banned women, prompting anger from rights activists and others who have accused the sports complex of discrimination.
The Anzhi Arena spa-complex near Makhachkala, the capital of the internal Russian republic of Dagestan, announced its policy change on the Instagram social media platform on Monday.
“From Jan. 20 onwards attendance of the pool is open only to men,” it said.
The decision has sparked heated debate among residents of the mountainous region, where traditional social values and conservative interpretations of Islam often put it at odds with large parts of European Russia where more liberal values prevail.
The swimming pool said its decision to deny entry to women, who were previously only admitted on Fridays for women-only sessions, was financially motivated.
“Unfortunately, there were hardly any visitors during women’s days,” the RIA news agency cited the spa complex as saying on its Instagram page, which has now been set to private.
“Specifically because of this, after a thorough analysis and evaluation, the difficult decision was made that keeping days for women open in our pool was not viable.”
It is common in the North Caucasus region to find sports facilities offering men and women access on separate days of the week. But a complete ban on women using the pool goes against the Russian constitution, activists said.
Fatima Abdulkhalimova, 31, said she could no longer use the pool despite working there as an instructor.
“I do demonstrations, show people the correct technique, and now I’m not allowed to enter the water,” Abdulkhalimova, a former professional swimmer, said.
“I think it’s to do with religion, I believe it is because a lot of religious guys come here,” she said.
Access to the pool had initially been permitted for both men and women, she said, before being restricted to Fridays only for women.
If having women-only days was not financially viable, then why not simply return to the earlier, mixed-gender system, Abdulkhalimova questioned.
Three women from Dagestan have now filed a complaint to the regional Prosecutor’s Office accusing the sports complex of unconstitutional gender-based discrimination, a copy of the document, shared by Olga Gnezdilova, a lawyer with the Rights Initiative Project, showed.
One of the complainants is Svetlana Anokhina, editor of a local online media platform focused on women’s rights. She said the practice of separating public spaces by gender was on the rise.
“I have a daughter here and she has three daughters too. I’m angry because... I’m afraid for them. I don’t want them to live in a special ghetto for women,” Anokhina, who is based in Makhachkala, said.
One woman, who said she frequently used the pool, said she had been refused a membership pass last month.
Commenting on a post on Instagram she wrote that the pool’s administrators had told her she couldn’t buy a pass because there was not enough locker room space for men.