RCMP appeal to public for information after 2 tourists found dead off northern B.C. highway
Police are asking the public for information as part of an investigation into a double homicide after two tourists were found dead in northern B.C. on Monday morning.
The RCMP have identified the victims as Australian citizen Lucas Fowler, 23, and his girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, a resident of Charlotte, N.C.
Officers are asking for the public’s help in identifying a blue 1986 Chevrolet van with Alberta licence plates that is believed to be connected to the murders.
WATCH: B.C. RCMP confirm names of victims in Alaska Highway double murder
“We’re particularly interested in speaking to anybody who has dashcam video or who had spoken to or had seen Lucas or Chynna in the area, or this blue van,” said Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, RCMP media relations officer for the Lower Mainland District, during a press briefing earlier this week.
The couple was found on the side of Alaska Highway, also known as Highway 97, in northern B.C., about 20 kilometres south of Liard Hot Springs.
The victims’ grieving families are currently making their way from the United States and Australia. According to Shoihet, Fowler was living in B.C. at the time, and Deese was visiting him.
Fowler and Deese appear to have been shot where they were found, according to police. While their deaths have been deemed suspicious, it’s unclear whether they were an “unfortunate coincidence” or if the couple was targeted, police said.
Shoihet would not say whether the couple’s bodies were found inside or outside of the van.
WATCH: Tourist couple found dead in double homicide on northern B.C.’s Alaska Highway
As Fowler’s father is an active member of the New South Wales Police force in Australia, a number of investigators are accompanying his family to Canada, though they will not be joining the RCMP’s investigation.
Shoihet added that RCMP were also interested in speaking with anyone travelling along Highway 97, which is a throughway to Alberta, Yukon and Alaska, after 4 p.m. on Sunday or after 8 a.m. on Monday.
A statement from the Fowler family was posted on the New South Wales Police Department’s Facebook Page.
“We are all now travelling to Canada to be with our boy and to bring him home,” the statement says, describing Fowler as a dear son, brother, grandson and friend.
“To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was travelling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating.”
The statement continues: “To know his beautiful girlfriend, Chynna Deese of Charlotte, N.C., also lost her life in this violent event is too cruel.”
A statement posted by Deese’s sibling, Kennedy, said the North Carolina family was “in shock and heartbroken.”
RCMP said there is nothing to indicate the deaths are linked to any other ongoing investigations.
—With files from the Canadian Press
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