B.C. RCMP have identified the third victim in a string of murders in northern B.C. as a Vancouver man who taught at the University of British Columbia.
The body of 64-year-old Leonard Dyck was found about two kilometres south of a burning vehicle on Highway 37 near Dease Lake, B.C. on July 19, police confirmed Wednesday.
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Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, who are currently on a Canada-wide warrant, have now been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Dyck’s death, police also said.
McLeod and Schmegelsky, who are 19 and 18 years old respectively, are also suspected of killing Lucas Fowler of Sydney, Australia, and his girlfriend Chynna Deese of Charlotte, N.C.
The teenagers have not yet been charged in their deaths.
Dyck’s body was found roughly 470 kilometres away from where Fowler and Deese were discovered on the side of the Alaska Highway.
Dyck’s family released a statement through B.C. RCMP asking the public and the media to respect their privacy.
“We are truly heart broken by the sudden and tragic loss of Len,” the statement reads.
“He was a loving husband and father. His death has created unthinkable grief and we are struggling to understand what has happened.”
A staff profile on UBC’s website says Dyck was a sessional lecturer in the department of botany.
That same page says Dyck had a seminar scheduled for Sept. 12.
In a statement, Sean Graham, the head of the department of botany, said the UBC community is “shocked and saddened by this news and we offer our deepest condolence to Mr. Dyck’s family, friends and his colleagues at the university.”
UBC president Santa Ono took to Twitter to share his “thoughts and prayers” with Dyck’s family, friends and colleagues.
— Santa J. Ono (@ubcprez) July 25, 2019
On Thursday, UBC shared a statement from Dyck’s friend and colleague Patrick Martone, who said Dyck was a “cherished” lecturer in the botany department.
“I was lucky to have known Len Dyck,” Martone said.
“When you first met Len, he had a somewhat gruff exterior, but students soon realized he was a knowledgeable, trusted teacher and scholar who loved sharing his enthusiasm and curiosity and showing them how to uncover hidden gems in the natural world.”
Martone said Dyck completed his bachelor’s of science degree in marine biology in 1978, followed by a master’s in botany in 1991 and his PhD in 2004.
He went on to say Dyck’s work behind the scenes in the botany department and with students “make him truly irreplaceable.”
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Mishty Banerjee was a graduate student alongside Dyck in the late 1980s.
He said he was a private man with a “tremendous sense of humour.”
The two of them were very interested in chaos theory, and Banerjee remembered them breaking UBC’s mainframe printer and being threatened to never be allowed to use it again.
He said Dyck once played the Led Zeppelin hit “Stairway to Heaven” to the theme of the TV series Gilligan’s Island on the guitar.
“You wouldn’t believe those things go together, but they actually fit perfectly,” he said.
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It’s not yet known what circumstances brought Dyck into contact with McLeod and Schmegelsky. It was originally believed the teenagers were headed to the Yukon for work.
The pair were last spotted in Meadow Lake, Sask. on Sunday.
On Wednesday, RCMP confirmed the Toyota RAV4 McLeod and Schmegelsky were travelling in was found on fire in the Gillam area in northern Manitoba on Monday.
B.C. RCMP later said they can’t yet confirm whether the RAV4 belonged to Dyck.
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Alerts have been issued by police in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario asking the public to be aware of the pair and to call police if they’re spotted.
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