Port Alberni teens missing after truck found on fire in northern B.C.

RCMP in northern B.C. are asking for help locating two Port Alberni teenagers whose vehicle was found on fire on Highway 37 about 50 kilometres south of Dease Lake on Friday.

Dease Lake RCMP responded to the scene and discovered a body at a nearby highway pullout. Police have confirmed that the body does not belong to either of the Port Alberni men.

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Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were driving a red and grey Dodge pickup truck outfitted with a sleeping camper. They were travelling to Whitehorse, Yukon, to look for work. They were seen travelling south before the vehicle was discovered. Police said it’s not clear why they returned to B.C. or what their travel plans might be.

The two young men, both from Port Alberni, have not been in contact with their families for several days. It’s possible they are in an area without cell coverage, said Dawn Roberts of B.C. RCMP communications.

“However, we have found their vehicle and have not been able to locate either of them at this time. We are asking for Kam or Bryer to connect with police right away and let us know you are OK. Or we ask that anyone who may have spoken to or seen them over the last few days to call police so we can get a better understanding as to where they might be or their plans,” Roberts said.

Both men are described as six-foot-four. McLeod has dark brown hair, brown eyes and facial hair, and weighs about 170 pounds. Schmegelsky has sandy brown hair and weighs about 125 pounds. Their Dodge pickup truck has the B.C. licence plate LW6433. The two were last seen travelling south from the Super A general store in Dease Lake about 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, July 18.

Police are working to identify the body, believed to be a man, found about two kilometres away from the truck. It remains unclear how the deceased male might be connected to the fire or the missing men.

The incident comes just a few days after the bodies of a young couple were discovered on the side of the Alaska Highway about 20 kilometres south of the Liard Hot Springs, roughly 470 kilometres from the body discovered Friday. Police acknowledged there are growing concerns in northern B.C. about the ongoing homicide investigations.

The RCMP asks travellers on these remote highways to share travel plans with family and friends, establish check-in times and notify someone if plans change.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of McLeod and Schmegelsky is asked to call Dease Lake RCMP at 250-771-4111 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or crimestoppers.net.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

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