“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 a 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.”
Police said that two firearms had been found near McLeod and Schmegelsky’s bodies.
They have begun a forensic analysis to definitively prove that the weapons are connected to the homicide investigation in British Columbia.
The suspects’ bodies were found on August 7 in dense brush.
The breakthrough in the manhunt came when police discovered personal items belonging to the suspects beside the Nelson River, near the town of Gillam. Their bodies were found one kilometre away.
Describing the area where the bodies were found Manitoba RCMP commanding officer Jane MacLatchy said last week: “It’s very very dense brush … very thick, very difficult to work your way through. There are no trails.”
She said there was a “certain amount of relief” about the discovery, even though the fugitives had not been found alive.
The manhunt for the suspects stretched from British Columbia, in the country’s west, where the murders occurred, to Manitoba, a distance greater than Western Australia to New South Wales.
Police and search crews were deployed to the remote north of Manitoba, putting the small communities located there on edge.
RCMP spokesman Paul Manaigre said the motive for the killings was still unknown.
“That’s going to be the biggest puzzle to solve in this investigation,” he said. “And we hope we can get some answers on that question.”
Fowler and Deese were on a road trip when their van broke down on the Alaska Highway on July 14.
Their bodies were found in a ditch the next morning.
Dyck, 64, was killed four days later.
Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636.
Matthew Knott a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age based in the United States.