Chynna Noelle Deese of North Carolina (left) and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia (right) were found dead near Liard Hot Springs on July 15, 2019.

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

The young couple found dead along a highway near Liard Hot Springs in northern B.C. had been shot, police said Monday.

On Monday, RCMP provided an update in the deaths of Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, of North Carolina and Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23, of Australia, who were found along Highway 97 in northern B.C. on the morning of July 15. Fowler’s vehicle, a 1986 blue Chevrolet van with Alberta licence plates, was also found at the scene.

Spokesperson Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said Fowler was living in B.C. and Deese was believed to have been visiting him.

Asked if there was a robbery or sexual assault at the time of the killings, or if the crime was targeted or opportunistic, Shoihet declined to comment.

Scan to the 19:50 mark for the Deese/Fowler case:

Shoihet said police have been reviewing thousand of hours of security camera footage, speaking to witnesses and reviewing physical and digital evidence.

Investigators released a sketch of a man they believed is linked to the case, but is not a suspect.

He is described as being below six-foot-three, Caucasian, with darker skin, dark hair and a possible beard or glasses. Police say he may be associated to an older Jeep Cherokee with a black stripe along the hood and a black lightbar with covers. The car is believed to have been travelling south.

He was seen speaking to Fowler on the evening of July 14 on Highway 97.

The Fowler family travelled to B.C. from their home in Australia where the father, Stephen Fowler, is the chief police inspector in New South Wales.

The Deese family are receiving regular updates at their home in the U.S., and will not be coming to B.C.

On Monday, Fowler’s father addressed the media.

Stephen Fowler, who is a chief police inspector in New South Wales, said he was “satisfied” with the RCMP’s work.

“We are just distraught. This has really torn two families apart,” Stephen said.

“Our son Lucas was having the time of his life travelling the world.”

Stephen Fowler speaks to the media about the death of his son, Lucas Fowler. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Stephen described Lucas as a “fun-loving guy with a heart of gold,” Deese as a “beautiful young lady” and the couple as a “great pair.”

Lucas met Deese while he was travelling the world, Stephen said, and the pair became “inseparable.”

“It’s a love story that’s ended tragically. It’s the worst ever love story,” Stephen said.

Shoihet implored those sharing tips about the case on social media to contact RCMP at 1-877-543-4822. She noted that the remote nature of where the couple’s bodies were found means there is less security footage to review and asked those in the area on July 14 and 15 to contact police.

The couple were last caught on camera at a gas station in in Fort Nelson on July 13 between 7:30 p.m. and 7:47 p.m

Questions have swirled as to whether the Deese/Fowler case is connected in any way to another investigation, about 500 kilometres southwest near Dease Lake.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are missing after the pair’s car was found on fire on Highway 37 near the Stikine River Bridge on Friday.

READ MORE: Man found dead near Alberni teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

Shoihet neither denied nor confirmed when asked if police are worried about a serial killer at work in B.C.’s north.

A man was found dead near the scene, and police released a composite sketch of him in the hopes of learning his identity. They said it’s possible he could be linked to the young couple.

Shoihet acknowledged public concerns about safety in the region with the “tragic and unusual” nature of Fowler and Deese’s deaths, as well as the man’s body found about 500 kilometres away.

“We would like to stress the importance of heightened vigilance and awareness for anyone travelling in and around the area,” she said.

Police are encouraging travellers to camp in known and established areas, keep in contact with family and have a plan of where they are headed.

READ MORE: Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

READ MORE: Alberni teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, B.C.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Manitoba Manhunt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Blue River Community Garden celebrates construction of screened-in gazebo

Volunteer fire department donates time and expertise to the job

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Food bank doing well thanks to volunteers and donations

Chair applauds staff for stepping up in time of turmoil

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

BC SPCA team helps discover new feline virus after outbreak at Quesnel shelter

Fechavirus is a kind of parvovirus, which makes cats and kittens very sick

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

How to safely drink water in areas impacted by flooding

Quality and safety of drinking water can be affected during and after floods

Most Read