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."
Case of missing N.C. and Australian couple
Case of missing N.C. and Australian couple
In this undated photo provided by the Deese family of Chynna Deese, 23-year-old Australian Lucas Fowler, left, and 24-year-old American girlfriend Chynna Deese poses for a selfie. The couple were found murdered along the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, Canada, on Monday, July 15, 2019. (Deese Family via AP)
Security camera images of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and a Toyota RAV4 SUV are placed on display before an Royal Canadian Mounted Police news conference in Surrey, British Columbia, on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. RCMP say two British Columbia teenagers who were first thought to be missing are now considered suspects in the deaths of three people in northern British Columbia. The bodies of Australian Lucas Fowler, his girlfriend Chynna Deese, of Charlotte, N.C., and an unidentified man were found a few kilometers from the teens' burned-out vehicle. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
A sketch of a man who the Royal Canadian Mounted Police say interacted with Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese is displayed during a news conference, in Surrey, British Columbia, on Monday July 22, 2019. Lucas, a 23-year-old Australian who, along with his girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, of Charlotte, N.C., were found dead in Northern British Columbia last week. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Security camera images recorded in Saskatchewan of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are displayed as Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett steps away from the podium after speaking during a news conference in Surrey, British Columbia, on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. RCMP say two British Columbia teenagers who were first thought to be missing are now considered suspects in the deaths of three people in northern British Columbia. The bodies of Australian Lucas Fowler, his girlfriend Chynna Deese, of Charlotte, N.C., and an unidentified man were found a few kilometers from the teens' burned-out vehicle. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
New South Wales police chief inspector Stephen Fowler pauses while speaking at a Royal Canadian Mounted Police news conference, in Surrey, British Columbia, on Monday July 22, 2019. Fowler's son Lucas, a 23-year-old Australian who, along with his girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, of Charlotte, N.C., were found dead in Northern British Columbia last week. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Chynna Deese and her boyfriend Lucas Fowler are seen in undated photos issued by the RCMP
VANCOUVER — Three people are dead in northern B.C. and there is a major search stretching across Western Canada for two teens police say are suspects. Here's a timeline of events:July 15 — The bodies of a man and a woman are found near a blue van on the Alaska Highway, also known as Highway 97, near Liard Hot Springs.July 17 — RCMP say the deaths are suspicious.July 18 — RCMP announce Australian Lucas Fowler, 23, and American Chynna Deese, 24, are victims of a double homicide. Meanwhile, in Jade City, B.C., Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are spotted in a store where they stopped for free coffee. Jade City is about 350 kilometres from where the two bodies were found.July 19 — Police announce the body of a man has been found two kilometres from a burned-out truck belonging to McLeod and Schmegelsky near Dease Lake, B.C. The two teens are missing. Dease Lake is about 470 kilometres from the first crime scene.July 21 — McLeod and Schmegelsky are spotted in Meadow Lake, Sask.July 22 — Mounties say Fowler and Deese were shot. They release composite sketches of a man seen speaking with the couple on the highway where they were found dead and a sketch of the unidentified man found dead near the burned truck. Fowler's father, an Australian police inspector, pleads for the public's help in the investigation.July 23 — RCMP announce Schmegelsky and McLeod are now suspects in the three deaths. They release photos of the young men and a 2011 grey Toyota Rav 4 they may be driving. Fox Lake Cree Nation says a burned-out vehicle is found near Gillam in northern Manitoba. Police search that area.July 24 — Manitoba RCMP confirm the burned-out vehicle near Gillam is the Toyota Rav 4 the suspects are believed to have been driving. The Canadian Press
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
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."