Father praises Canadian murder suspects for evading police: 'These boys are smart'

Justin Chan
Father praises Canadian murder suspects for evading police: 'These boys are smart'

The father of one of the Canadian teenage boys accused of murdering a couple and a 64-year-old man recently commended the suspects for eluding authorities.

In an emotional interview with Channel Nine's "60 Minutes," Alan Schmegelsky expressed regret that he didn't spend more time with his 18-year-old son, Bryer, but maintained that he also didn't believe that the teenager was responsible for the deaths of three people. 

"You may think he's a monster, but he's my son," Alan said. "He's my Bryer."

Last month, Bryer and his 19-year-old best friend, Kam McLeod, were the subject of a manhunt after the two were charged in the murders of 24-year-old North Carolina native Chynna Deese, her 23-year-old Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler and 64-year-old Vancouver native Leonard Dyck. 

On July 15, Canadian authorities discovered the bodies of Deese and Fowler, who were shot dead, alongside the Alaska Highway. The couple, who originally met at a hostel in Croatia, had been touring Canada's national parks and were nearing the end of their road trip to Alaska when the pair's 1968 Chevrolet broke down, according to Deese's family. 

"I'm just sick to my stomach, literally," Deese's mother, Sheila, told the Globe and Mail. "I want [the suspects] caught. I want them to have consequences ... The story is about Chynna and Lucas, but so much of the focus is these boys, these evil, evil boys."

Four days later, law enforcement also found the body of Dyck, a lecturer at the University of British Columbia, 300 miles away from where the couple was murdered. Dyck was discovered over a mile away from a burning gray truck, which police later determined as belonging to the suspects.

"We are truly heartbroken by the sudden tragic loss of Len," Dyck's family said in a statement at the time. 

Over the course of several weeks, authorities conducted a manhunt across three provinces before they finally located two bodies close to Gillam, Manitoba — nearly six miles from the burned-out vehicle — last week. Police believe the bodies belong to the teenage suspects, who may have drowned.

According to the Associated Press, the younger Schmegelsky and McLeod worked together at a Walmart and had gone on what their parents believed was a work trip to Yukon. As news of Deese and Fowler's murder broke, the teenagers initially eluded police at a checkpoint at Tataskweyak Cree Nation, a region more than 100 miles from Gillam. In doing so, the two earned praise from Schmegelsky's father, Alan.

"These boys are smart," Alan told "60 Minutes." "They're intelligent ... kudos boys, kudos."

Following the police's latest discovery of the bodies of two boys, however, Alan said he was heartbroken about his son's supposed death.

"He was my only child," he said of Bryer. "[I'll] never get to hug him again, never get to spend time with him again."

In their search for answers, authorities have already looked into a photograph of Nazi paraphernalia that was allegedly sent by Bryer to an online friend on the video-game network Steam.

"He was raised by YouTube and video games," Alan told 60 Minutes. "He had a lot of time with very little attention given to him and I know that."

Still, Alan said he wants to see more evidence before calling his son a murderer. 

"We'll never know the answer," he said. "Everyone's so quick to judge ... he might be a victim in all of this for all we know."