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.

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

National champion beatboxer Vino Cuenca, a Surrey resident, in photo posted to facebook.com/BeatboxCanada.
WATCH: Surrey man’s beatboxing skills make him a national champ with an eye on Worlds

Vocal-percussion whiz Vino Cuenca won the Beatbox Canada title in 2019

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
OUR VIEW: We expect integrity from leaders

Is it too much to ask that conflict related to the city’s business be met on the battleground of fact?

Despite rumours, Surrey RCMP say they are not issuing tickets to people if they are driving in a vehicle with others from a different household. (File photo)
Rumours of vehicle-occupant address checks untrue, say Surrey RCMP

COVID-19 enforcement about education, says Cpl. Joanie Sidhu

B.C.’s parliament buildings in Victoria. (Photo: Tom Fletcher)
Surrey gets two cabinet ministers, a parliamentary secretary and government whip

Premier John Horgan’s NDP MLAs were sworn in on Tuesday and the cabinet was revealed Thursday afternoon

Hardeep Singh Sahota, the director of Royal Academy of Bhangra in Surrey, says there’s lots of confusion around the temporary closure of dance studios. He’s pictured in the empty studio, which shows spaced out dance areas, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
‘Temporary’ closure causing confusion for Surrey dance studio

Bhangra academy director says studios need more guidance from healh authorities

National champion beatboxer Vino Cuenca, a Surrey resident, in photo posted to facebook.com/BeatboxCanada.
WATCH: Surrey man’s beatboxing skills make him a national champ with an eye on Worlds

Vocal-percussion whiz Vino Cuenca won the Beatbox Canada title in 2019

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
Two Fraser Valley churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld is taking heat over using a ableist slur to refer to three Black Press employees. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)
BC School Trustees Association president keeps heat on Chilliwack Trustee Barry Neufeld

In a news release, Stephanie Higginson called on voters to take careful note of Neufeld’s behaviour

Most Read