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Canada fugitives 'took their own lives'

The tragedy began with young couple Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese shot dead on a lonely Canadian highway.

The sorry tale ended with best friends Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky apparently ending their own lives in remote, thick bushland 3000km away.

In a little over three weeks, five people were dead.

Why?

The question remains unanswered.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced on Monday that autopsies determined two bodies found last week in bushland outside of the small Manitoba outpost town of Gillam were those of McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18.

The RCMP also said it appeared the teenagers took their own lives.

Two guns were found with the bodies and are undergoing forensic analysis to determine if they are the weapons used for the murderous rampage that began with the discovery of Mr Fowler, 23, from Sydney, and Ms Deese, 24, from North Carolina dead on the side of a British Columbia highway on July 15.

Their old Chevrolet van had broken down, leaving the couple stranded in an area with minimal mobile reception.

Four days later university botany lecturer Leonard Dyck, 64, was found dead on another BC highway, his Toyota RAV4 was stolen and 2km away McLeod's Dodge pickup truck was abandoned and set alight.

McLeod and Schmegelsky were first deemed "missing", but days later the RCMP declared the duo suspects in the deaths of Mr Fowler, Ms Deese and Mr Dyck and a manhunt spanning 5000km, five Canadian provinces and involving Royal Canadian Air Force planes ended last Wednesday with RCMP officers finding their bodies.

The teenagers dumped the stolen RAV4 near Gillam on July 22 and apparently trekked 8km east along the Nelson River, or floated in an old row boat, before leaving the river's edge and battling 1km through thick scrub inhabited by blood-sucking deer flies and other bugs, black bears, wolves and wolverines.

The RCMP does not know how long the teenagers lasted in the bush, but indicated it may have been just "a few days".

Wilderness survival experts predicted they would struggle to stay alive.

"While both individuals were deceased for a number of days before they were found, the exact time and date of their deaths are not known," the RCMP said in Monday's autopsy statement.

"However, there are strong indications that they had been alive for a few days since last seen in July and during the extensive search efforts in the Gillam area."

With the manhunt over, the RCMP is focusing on putting the puzzle together by interviewing friends, family and witnesses, studying evidentiary time lines and physical and digital evidence.

They are also relying on the BC RCMP's Behavioural Analysis Unit to delve into the psychological profiles of McLeod and Schmegelsky to examine why two former Walmart employees from Vancouver Island may have turned into killers.

"The BC RCMP commits that once we have completed that review within the next few weeks, we will be providing the families with an update with respect to the totality of the investigations and then releasing the information publicly," the RCMP said.

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© AAP 2019

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