The family of one of the suspects accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy and chaining him up in a Nova Scotia house says he may have died from diabetes complications.
Police confirmed they've found the body of Wayne Alan Cunningham, 31, charged with forcible confinement and sexual assault in the case of a teenager who was allegedly kept at a house on Nova Scotia's South Shore.
Members of the Ontario Provincial Police found the body during a ground search at about 8:30 p.m. ET Wednesday near Longlac, Ont., close to the grey 2003 Hyundai Elantra that Cunningham was believed to be driving.
'It's not the ending we all wanted.' —Amy Kempton
While the cause of death is under investigation, police said they do not suspect foul play. They have not said how he died.
Amy Kempton, Cunningham's cousin, said he was a diabetic who had to take refrigerated insulin twice a day. She said the family had a feeling he would die from diabetes complications.
"When we were younger, he stopped taking care of himself, and I actually gave him his insulin …. So I knew from a previous experience that if he didn't do this, then it would probably eventually end his life."
Kempton said the family found out Wednesday night.
"It was a lot of mixed emotions. I cried, I was hurt, I was angry. It's not the ending we all wanted. The family, myself speaking, and I'm sure every family member, wanted him brought back to go through the court systems."
Sylvia Cunningham, Wayne Cunningham's mother, told CBC News the family was told Wednesday of the discovery of the body. She said the family was doing, "good as can be expected."
"He'd been in trouble a lot with the law but when he was younger he was a good kid. But he just got mixed up and it's hard to explain," Cunningham said Thursday.
She said she saw her son "every once in a while" and last saw him in August.
Kempton said she hadn't been in contact with her cousin for 18 months.
Cunningham has one brother and one sister.
Cunningham and David James Leblanc, 47, were both charged with forcible confinement and sexual assault after a 16-year-old boy escaped a house in Upper Chelsea, Lunenburg County, and told police he had been kept there for two weeks.
Leblanc was found disoriented and barefoot earlier this week, in the same area the body was found Wednesday evening.
Police say Leblanc, who was taken into custody, is still not fit to be transported to Nova Scotia for "medical reasons."
"Our focus now is to bring Mr. Leblanc back from Ontario so that he can answer to these serious charges," said RCMP Sgt. Alain Leblanc. "It's our hope that it can be done sooner rather than later."
Chains wrapped around wrists, ankles
The discovery of the body effectively ends a national manhunt for the two men, which started last week after the teenager escaped from the house and walked more than one kilometre to another home to ask for help.
The police released several photos of the men — including ones of Cunningham at different times in his life, with different hair lengths.
An arrest warrant for the Leblanc and Cunningham said, "Over the course of several days these two men forcibly confined and sexually assaulted [the teen]," and that the two "were talking about trying to sell him."
The teen had chains wrapped around his wrists and ankles and was wearing nothing but a hooded sweatshirt and a hat when he arrived on Terry Frauzel's doorstep.
Frauzel told CBC News he cut the chains off the boy and drove him to a house in Bridgewater.
The teen was later treated in hospital and police say he is now safe.