June 17, 2024
'It's been blown out of proportion': Online speculation causing havoc in manhunt for B.C. fugitives
Callers claim to have seen the fugitives in at least nine different Ontario towns, sometimes phoning police with sightings at the same time.
Callers claim to have seen the fugitives in at least nine different Ontario towns, sometimes phoning police with sightings at the same time.

Social media is creating havoc for police in the massive cross-Canada manhunt for teenage murder suspects Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18.

Online speculation that the pair has crossed into Ontario from Manitoba has led to a host of calls to police reporting possible sightings in nine different towns in the province, including at a Tim Hortons restaurant in Timmins.

While police are encouraging people to continue calling in anything suspicious, Acting Sgt. Shona Camirand with the Ontario Provincial Police in North Bay said social media users are taking things too far.

“I got a call saying, ‘How come there’s helicopters?’ Well, there is no helicopters, and there’s other reports on social media that someone had been shot and it’s just been blown out of proportion,” she said.

Residents across the province are on high alert, dialling 911 in a frantic race to be the ones who help catch the triple murder suspects from Vancouver Island whose last confirmed location was in Gillam, Man., 10 days ago.

But with no trace of the fugitives since then, paranoia about the duo crossing provincial borders into Ontario has merged with the age of social media, leading to mass speculation online that has dominated police calls during the past 24 hours.

Marc Depatie, a communications co-ordinator with the Timmins Police Service, said a man believed he saw the fugitives at a Tim Hortons near the town centre on Wednesday.

“They called it in at 9:30 the next morning — 16 hours after the fact,” Depatie said.

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