An American woman and her Australian boyfriend were found shot to death on a Canadian Highway Monday during a trip exploring British Columbia, with police saying their deaths appear “suspicious.”
The bodies of Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, and Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23, were discovered 12 miles south of Liard Hot Springs, with a 1986 blue Chevrolet van bearing Alberta plates also found at the scene, Sgt. Janelle Shoihet of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement.
Shoihet said both deaths seem “suspicious,” but said that the investigation is still “in its very infancy.”
Shoihet added, “At this point, we have nothing to indicate their deaths are linked to any other active investigations in that area of the providence or that there is a heighten risk to public safety because of this.”
Authorities are still working to determine whether or not the young couple was driving the blue van found at the scene and are asking for information from anyone who may have possibly encountered the van or had seen the couple inside of it.
Fowler, who was from Australia, was living in British Columbia at the time of his death, with his girlfriend Deese visiting him to travel and explore the area.
Deese’s mother, Sheila, told WSOC that the couple planned on traveling by van through the Canadian countryside while visiting all the national parks.
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Young, giving, with their whole lives ahead of them. This couple was found shot to death on a remote Canadian road. Chynna Deese is from Charlotte. Her mom tells me she spoke to her daughter on Saturday, “She was happy she was so, so happy.” Her mom remembers Chynna at 5 @wsoctv pic.twitter.com/EXCaNyOLpQ— Genevieve Curtis (@GenevieveWSOC9) July 19, 2019
“They had mapped out their route,” she told the news outlet. “And to my understanding, the van broke down and that’s where tragedy happened,” Sheila said.
“She loved people. She didn’t meet a stranger, but she was cautious,” the grieving mother added. “It’s tragic when someone dies, but when they’re in another country, you can’t go and be near them. You can’t be face-to-face and ask questions or go and see where it happened. I don’t want it to happen to someone else. I do want to find the person who did it.”
The FBI and the State Department are now assisting with the case.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” a department official said in a statement obtained by KCRA. “We are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.”
Meanwhile, Fowler’s family is making the trip to Canada from Australia to “bring our boy home.”
“To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was traveling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating,” Fowler’s family said in a statement through police, according to KCRA. “To know his beautiful girlfriend, Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina also lost her life in this violent event is too cruel.”
Reflecting on the couple’s relationship, Sheila said she’s comforted knowing the two were together until the end.
“It is a love story, a southern girl goes out of the country, meets this Australian and they were just the same personality,” she said. “It was like two butterflies that found each other and they were going to be forever.”
Police said it’s still unclear whether or not the couple was targeted or if the shooting was random.