‘Still troubled by it’: Witness recounts securing the scene of northern B.C. double murder
UPDATE: Police have named the two missing teenagers as persons of interest in the deaths of three people found on northern B.C. highways. Read the update here. The original story from July 22 follows.
It is a scene that roads worker Trevor Pierre still can’t get out of his mind: two young tourists found by the side of a northern B.C. highway, lives tragically cut short.
Pierre was one of the first people on scene after Australian citizen Lucas Fowler, 23, and his girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, a resident of Charlotte, N.C., were found dead near their van on the side of the Alaska Highway, about 20 kilometres south of Liard Hot Springs, last Monday.
“I’m still troubled by it,” said Pierre.
“They look young enough they really haven’t started living. And their life taken.”
Pierre had actually seen Fowler and Deese when they were still alive, stopped on the side of the highway around 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 14.
Around 6: 45 a.m. the following morning Pierre’s boss called him with the grim news: a young couple had been found dead. Pierre, a medic, was asked to attend the scene and secure it until police arrived.
WATCH: Police release surveillance video of murdered tourists in northern B.C.
Pierre said when he arrived there was a trucker stopped at the site, visibly upset. He said the trucker had called RCMP and told him to make sure they had his name to follow up.
Pierre said he checked the couple for a pulse, but that they were already cold and unnaturally pale. Fowler had a small wound, he said, but he couldn’t tell what had caused it.
Both bodies were laying north, with their heads facing west, he said.
According to Pierre, no one was inside the van. The vehicle’s two passenger-side side doors were open, he said, and the van’s back window had been smashed outward, with glass strewn outside the vehicle.
Police have said it remains unclear whether the couple was targeted or whether their deaths were an “unfortunate coincidence.”
Fowler and Deese, who family members say were in the middle of a road trip through Canada, were shot where they were found, police said late last week.
But it remains unclear whether they were killed inside or outside of the van.
WATCH: More witnesses come forward describing final hours of dead tourist couple
“Not a way to start off a Monday morning, a beautiful young lady and a young man… The family, to get the news — I’m a father, I don’t ever want to hear that news,” he said.
“So I prayed for the family … I just hope whoever did that has enough sense to turn themselves in.”
Pierre said he stayed on scene for three-and-a-half hours, waving traffic by and making sure no one stopped at the site before RCMP arrived.
Another vehicle sighted at the scene
According to Pierre, his boss may have been one of the last people to see Fowler and Deese alive.
Pierre said when he got the call to secure the scene, his boss told him she had seen a third man speaking to the couple around 11:30 p.m. on July 14.
WATCH: Double homicide is ‘very troubling’ for popular tourism area in northern B.C.
“She gave that to the RCMP,” he said. “And just told me, ‘Be careful,’ so that weighed on my mind while I was waving everyone by, that person. I was glad that that other vehicle she described wasn’t there. Like, any little noise had me looking everywhere.”
Pierre’s boss wasn’t the only person to see the couple in the hours before their deaths.
Curtis and Sandra Broughton told Global News they chatted with Fowler and Deese about their broken-down van, and the couple said they had the mechanical problem under control and were having a picnic as they waited for the van’s engine to unflood.
Investigators are appealing to anyone who travelled along Highway 97 between 4 p.m. on July 14 or after 8 a.m. on July 15 to come forward, particularly if they have dash cam video.
B.C. RCMP are slated to provide an update on the case around 2 p.m. PT on Monday.
-With files form Nadia Stewart and Sean Boynton
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.