'Go out in blaze of glory': Path killers took to murders
The bodies of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese were metres apart, lying on the grassy verge of the lonely Alaska Highway.
The back window of their blue Chevrolet van was shot out and only fragments of glass remained in place. The front passenger door hung open.
The crime scene photographs are too graphic to be shown, but they paint a clear picture of what unfolded 20km south of popular tourist destination Liard River Hot Springs where nobody could hear the gunshots and help could not arrive in time.
It's in that spot in northern British Columbia where two loved-up free spirits from Sydney and Charlotte crossed paths with a pair of quiet, disturbed teens now at the centre of a manhunt spanning all of Canada.
As Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, continue to evade authorities, their movements have been mapped by authorities and eyewitness accounts.
We know they started their journey together at Port Alberni where they met as young children and formed a bond that could not be broken.
They quit their jobs at Walmart, made purchases for a 1700km drive to Yukon territory - purchases that included a new black suit for Schmegelsky. They told family they were looking to make some "real money".
Schmegelsky's grandmother Carol said the pair left Port Alberni on July 12 for Whitehorse, a former gold rush town where people go for clean air and the chance to start something new.
She said Schmegelsky spoke with her over the phone on July 14 with news. Whitehorse had been disappointing, so they were moving on.
The next time family heard from them, they were "missing", but not yet suspects.
On the night of July 14 or the morning of July 15, Mr Fowler, 23, and Ms Deese, 24, were confronted by Schmegelsky and McLeod, police say.
The nature of that confrontation is known by only Schmegelsky and McLeod.
Having left the tourists' bodies discarded on the side of the road, the pair travelled north along Highway 97, back in the direction they came.
They had driven 350km from where Mr Fowler and Ms Deese were murdered, only to commit a third grisly crime.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police say the pair murdered Leonard Dyck, a lecturer from the University of British Columbia and a husband and father.
The 64-year-old's body was found at Dease Lake, 115km from Jade City and a short distance from the red and grey Dodge pick-up truck that had carried the teens on their killing spree across rural northern BC.
The truck had been torched and hidden away from the road, but it linked the pair to Mr Dyck's murder - a murder for which they were charged in absentia on Thursday.
The pair drove a Toyota RAV4 more than 2000km across two provinces before they were spotted in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan on July 21.
They evaded police on the road travelling further east to the tiny community of Split Lake in Manitoba where a petrol station employee recognised them after a brief and bizarre encounter on July 22.
Michelle Keeper told CBC News she believes she served the pair about 4pm where they purchased $20 worth of fuel and Schmegelsky asked if they could consume alcohol in the First Nations community, which is dry.
"The guy who paid for the gas - he was quiet, he didn't say anything, he was just looking down," she told CBC.
"They seemed like, I don't know, normal. I'm just so nervous right now thinking about it."
The net closed but Schmegelsky and McLeod made it further north to Gillam, travelling almost 170km before torching their second vehicle and disappearing.
They are now presumed to be hiding in dense and unforgiving bushland that locals say is no place to hide. It's full of wildlife including bears and wolves.
Authorities believe they will be sheltering in one of hundreds of abandoned buildings surrounding Gillam as the town experiences a police presence never before seen.
Military vehicles, police helicopters, drones and sniffer dogs are patrolling the region in an attempt to flush the accused killers from their hiding place. But it has so far yielded no results.
While locals wait to feel safe again, the families of Schmegelsky and McLeod are begging them to hand themselves in.
Bryer's father Alan Schmegelsky said his son will not surrender to police. In a gut-wrenching interview with the Alberni Valley News, Mr Schmegelsky said goodbye to his boy.
"He wants his hurt to end. They're going to go out in a blaze of glory. Trust me on this," Mr Schmegelsky said.
"Basically, he's going to be dead today or tomorrow. I know that."
His mother, who is estranged from Mr Schmegelsky, wrote a note to her son.
Josh Boswell from the Sunday Times said she asked him to publish it. It read: "Bryer is a careing (sic), loving boy that would never hurt anyone. He grew up in a loveing home, we miss and love him dearly. We want both boys to come home safe."
McLeod's father, Keith, has not fronted the media. But he told reporters from public broadcaster CBC that his son would not hurt anyone and he wanted to get "to the bottom of the story".
But the families of the victims are coming to grips with the loss of their loved ones. Lucas' father, NSW Police Chief Inspector Stephen Fowler, has travelled to BC to bring his boy home and to help in any way he can.
He called it the "worst ever love story" because Mr Fowler and Ms Deese had so much ahead of them.
"We are just distraught," he said. "This has really torn two families apart."
Chynna's mother, Sheila Deese, says she is slowly dealing with the reality of the situation. She told the ABC that she had circled July 31 on the calendar because her daughter was supposed to be coming home.
"I don't have any anger yet. And I'm afraid of it," she said.
"Chynna is not supposed to be home and it's OK that she's not home yet. I don't know what I'm going to do on July 31st."
Mr Dyck's family issued a brief statement on Thursday.
"We are truly heartbroken by the sudden and tragic loss of Len," it read.
"He was a loving husband and father. His death has created unthinkable grief and we are struggling to understand what has happened."