A body found on July 19 in Northern BC has been identified as Leonard Dyck, a sessional lecturer in UBC’s department of botany.
According to the RCMP, his murder is linked to the recent homicides of couple Lucas Fowler, 23, and Chynna Deese, 24. Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, are considered suspects in all three deaths and have been charged with second-degree murder for Dyck’s death.
On July 15, Fowler and Deese were found deceased south of Liard Hot Springs with bullet wounds. Dyck, 64, was found under similar circumstances near Dease Lake on BC Highway 37 — about 200 kilometres away.
Shortly before, a burning pick-up truck believed to have belonged to Schmegelsky and McLeod was found two kilometres north of Dyck’s body.
In a statement to the RCMP, his family said they were “truly heart broken” and asked that the public respect their privacy.
“He was a loving husband and father,” reads the statement. “His death has created unthinkable grief and we are struggling to understand what has happened.”
Botany Department Head Dr. Sean Graham confirmed that Dyck was a sessional lecturer at UBC and expressed his condolences.
“The UBC community is shocked and saddened by this news and we offer our deepest condolences to Mr. Dyck’s family, friends and his colleagues at the university,” he wrote in a statement to City News Vancouver.
According to UBC Professor Emeritus of Botany Dr. Robert de Wreede, a longtime friend and colleague, Dyck’s research focused on seaweed and how it adapts to its environment.
“[He was] a hard worker, a person who liked to discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of biology, someone who liked to think deeply about biological problems,” said de Wreede in an interview with CBC.
Currently, there are nation-wide warrants for Schmegelsky and McLeod’s arrest.
An RCMP release reported they were last seen in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan on July 21. On the following day, the vehicle they were driving, a Toyota RAV4, was found on fire near the town of Gillam, Manitoba.
Schmegelsky is described as an estimated 6’4” and 169 pounds with sandy brown hair. McLeod is a similar weight and size with dark hair and a beard.
The RCMP have categorized the suspects as dangerous. If spotted, you are advised to take no action other than calling 911 immediately.
This article was updated to correct the province where Meadow Lake is located.