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Australian man and girlfriend murdered in Canada travelled world together after meeting in Croatia

The 23-year-old Australian who was murdered with his American girlfriend in Canada had met her two years before the tragedy while travelling in Croatia. 

Lucas Fowler, the son of a New South Wales Chief Inspector, and Chynna Deese, 24, were found shot dead on the side of Alaska Highway in British Columbia on Monday.

The couple met in 2017 and spent the next two years sharing their love of travel by visiting Central and South America, Japan and South East Asia.

Close friend Sebastian Barrios said Mr Fowler had a ‘golden heart’ and was willing to say goodbye to his home to be with Ms Deese.

 

Lucas Fowler, the son of a NSW Chief Inspector, and Chynna Deese, 24, were found shot dead on the side of Alaska Highway, in British Columbia, on Monday

The couple met in 2017 and spent the next two years sharing their love of travel by visiting Central and South America, Japan and Southeast Asia. Pictured: Mr Fowler

The couple met in 2017 and spent the next two years sharing their love of travel by visiting Central and South America, Japan and Southeast Asia. Pictured: Mr Fowler

‘Not many people would leave everything behind to be with the person they love, but he did,’ Mr Barrios told The Daily Telegraph.

The couple visited Mr Barrios in Peru last year and he knew the young travellers were head-over-heels for each other.   

‘For the short time we got to know each other, I can say she was lovely and loved Lucas as much as he loved her,’ Mr Barrios said. 

Mr Fowler was a student at Ku-ring-gai High, in Sydney’s north, when Mr Barrios arrived at the school from Peru in 2010.

Mr Fowler left the high school in year 10 where he began an apprenticeship with a mechanic and saved up money for his world travels.  

‘He decided to take the time to travel to see what he wanted to do afterwards,’ Mr Barrios said.  

Mr Fowler and Ms Deese returned from Peru late 2018 and stayed with her family in North Carolina for about three months. 

The last post on Mr Fowler’s Instagram is a picture of Ms Deese shared on January 2, 2019 with the caption ‘I’ll miss this lil basket case’. 

Close friend Sebastian Barrios said Mr Fowler had a 'golden heart' and was willing to say goodbye to his home to be with Ms Deese (pictured)

Close friend Sebastian Barrios said Mr Fowler had a ‘golden heart’ and was willing to say goodbye to his home to be with Ms Deese (pictured)

The bodies were found about 20km south of Liard Hot Springs, and an old blue mini-van was found at the scene

The bodies were found about 20km south of Liard Hot Springs, and an old blue mini-van was found at the scene

Ms Deese, a recent graduate in psychology and business from Appalachian State University, was wearing a shirt with the school’s name emblazoned on the front.  

Mr Fowler was working at Venator Ranches in Hudson’s Hope, in remote British Columbia by February. 

His girlfriend stayed in the US before making her way to the ranch just over a week ago ahead of their travels ‘through the top half of the globe’.  

Mr Fowler’s father Stephen, the chief inspector for Sydney’s north-west Hills district, and his mother are on their way to Canada ‘to be with our boy and to bring him home’. 

‘To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was travelling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating,’ the Fowler’s said in a statement.   

Mr Fowler (pictured) was working at Venator Ranches in Hudson’s Hope, in remote British Columbia

Mr Fowler (pictured) was working at Venator Ranches in Hudson’s Hope, in remote British Columbia

Ms Deese made her way to the ranch Mr Fowler was working at just over a week ago ahead of their travels 'through the top half of the globe'

Ms Deese made her way to the ranch Mr Fowler was working at just over a week ago ahead of their travels ‘through the top half of the globe’

A third body was discovered close to where Mr Fowler and Ms Deese were murdered, Royal Canadian Mounted Police revealed on Saturday AEST.  

Officers were called to a truck fire south of the Stikine River Bridge on Highway 37 when a passing motorist told them they had just seen what they believed to be a body at a nearby Highway pullout. 

A separate investigation has now commenced and Canadian police added they did not believe the scenes are related.

On Friday it had been suggested that a serial killer might be responsible but police refuted these claims on Saturday, revealing that the bloody murders were ‘unique’.

In a press conference NSW Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones confirmed the couple had been shot in ‘horrific circumstance’.

Injuries inflicted on the couple were so ‘brutal’ that Ms Deese’s heartbroken brother, British Deese said an open casket would not be allowed at her funeral.  

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are leading the hunt for the killer. 

North District Rocky Mountain Police Sergeant Janelle Shoihet said police were called to the area of the Alaskan Highway at 7am local time.

Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese (centre) are pictured with Ms Deese's mother (right) and brother (left). The couple were road-tripping through Canada when their bodies were found on Monday

Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese (centre) are pictured with Ms Deese’s mother (right) and brother (left). The couple were road-tripping through Canada when their bodies were found on Monday

The bodies were found about 20km south of Liard Hot Springs, and an old blue mini-van was found at the scene.

‘At this point we have nothing to indicate that their deaths are connected to any other deaths,’ Sgt Shoihet said. 

Local police appealed for anyone who had seen the pair’s dark blue van to contact them. 

‘We are particularly interested in speaking with anyone who may have dashcam video,’ Sgt Shoihet said.

Police added that a ‘vehicle, an older blue minivan with Alberta plates, was found at the scene and police would like to speak with anyone who may have seen the vehicle or rendered assistance’. 

The last people to speak to Mr Fowler and Ms Deese appears to be Sandra and Curtis Broughton, a Canadian couple who said they were driving past, saw the broken down blue van and stopped to help. 

‘We seen the blue van broke down on our journey home on Sunday and we stopped and asked if they needed help,’ Ms Broughton wrote on Facebook.

‘I can’t believe that this young couple are dead now. This makes my heart so sad.’ 

North District Rocky Mountain Police Sergeant Janelle Shoihet (pictured) said police were called to the area of the Alaskan Highway at 7am local time

North District Rocky Mountain Police Sergeant Janelle Shoihet (pictured) said police were called to the area of the Alaskan Highway at 7am local time

The bodies were found about 20km south of Liard Hot Springs, and an old blue mini-van was found at the scene (pictured)

The bodies were found about 20km south of Liard Hot Springs, and an old blue mini-van was found at the scene (pictured)

Mr and Mrs Broughton stopped to help the couple with their van about 3.30pm on Sunday.

‘We were going south home to Fort Nelson, we were on our way home,’ Ms Broughton told Daily Mail Australia. 

They saw the van was pulled over with the hood up, but the young couple were sitting on the grass nearby having a picnic. 

‘With my husband being a mechanic, he likes to make sure people are okay see if they need help,’ she said. 

‘My husband talked to the young man Lucas, he seemed to know what the [van] problem was. 

‘An engine problem, the engine was flooded, the one cylinder wasn’t working. He was quite confident it would be okay,’ she said. 

Ms Broughton said they didn’t seem distressed or in danger, despite the van troubles. 

The last people to speak to Mr Fowler and Ms Deese appears to be Sandra and Curtis Broughton (pictured), a Canadian couple who said they were driving past, saw the broken down blue van and stopped to help

The last people to speak to Mr Fowler and Ms Deese appears to be Sandra and Curtis Broughton (pictured), a Canadian couple who said they were driving past, saw the broken down blue van and stopped to help

They saw the van was pulled over with the hood up, but the young couple were sitting on the grass nearby having a picnic

They saw the van was pulled over with the hood up, but the young couple were sitting on the grass nearby having a picnic 

‘We did see if they needed our help and he said ‘no’, he was okay,’ she said.

‘They said they were okay and we went on our way.’ 

The couple seemed pleasant and happy during the ‘brief encounter’, and told Mrs Broughton they were heading north.

‘It’s such a peaceful corner of the world up here,’ she said.

‘At this time of the year there are a lot of travellers doing to the Alaska highway dream.

‘They seemed like a lovely couple, a young couple in love.’

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones spoke to media outside Sutherland Police Station in Sydney on Saturday and thanked colleagues in the Australian Federal Police and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their work.

‘Also a special thank you to Qantas for the work they have done in some really short time frames to assist in getting the family over to Canada for what is clearly going to be an unbelievably sad and distressing part of their life,’ he said.

Lucas Fowler (left) and girlfriend Chynna Deese (right) of Charlotte, North Carolina, were travelling when they were killed. Ms Deese was visiting her boyfriend at a cable farm before they were to travel the top half of the globe

Lucas Fowler (left) and girlfriend Chynna Deese (right) of Charlotte, North Carolina, were travelling when they were killed. Ms Deese was visiting her boyfriend at a cable farm before they were to travel the top half of the globe

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones spoke to media outside Sutherland Police Station in Sydney on Saturday

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones spoke to media outside Sutherland Police Station in Sydney on Saturday

Assistant Commissioner Jones said Mr Fowler’s father, Stephen, and the whole family are devastated.

‘In respect to Stephen, I won’t say much apart from the fact that he is an outstanding police officer, police area command,’ he said.

‘I had a chance to speak to him yesterday and he and the whole family are devastated by what has occurred and our heartfelt condolences go out to Stephen, his family, and of course the family of the young victim from the USA.’ 

The NSW Police Force have sent two detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad to Canada to liaise and provide appropriate support to family members. 

Ms Deese’s brother told the Charlotte Observer newspaper that his family believed there may have been ‘some sort of conflict on the road’. 

It appears robbery may have been the motive with the couple’s identification missing.

Ms Deese's brother British said he endured the 'most chaotic day' of his life in the wake of the tragedy

Ms Deese’s brother British said he endured the ‘most chaotic day’ of his life in the wake of the tragedy 

Ms Deese's (right) brother British (left) recalled the moment he was advised the couple met a violent end

'Chynna and Lucas' lives were abruptly taken from a random act of violence while starting their road trip through Canada,' British wrote on Facebook

Ms Deese’s brother British (pictured left in both pictures with sister) recalled the moment he was advised the couple met a violent end. ‘Chynna and Lucas’ lives were abruptly taken from a random act of violence while starting their road trip through Canada,’ he wrote on Facebook

Mr Deese said investigators eventually found his sister’s passport hidden in the van. 

In a heartbreaking Facebook post, he told how he knew something was wrong when his sister did not answer his texts.

He said the day he found out she was murdered was ‘the most chaotic day of my life’ and spent hours on the phone with the US Embassy and investigators. 

’24 hrs ago I found out why my little sis didn’t text me back,’ he wrote on Friday.

‘Chynna and Lucas’ lives were abruptly taken from a random act of violence while starting their road trip through Canada.’   

Ms Deese’s brother explained his sister travelled to Canada to visit Mr Fowler for the ‘branding of the cows’ at a ranch he worked in. 

The bodies of Australian Lucas Fowler and his girlfriend Chynna Deese (pictured) were found on the side of the road on Monday

The bodies of Australian Lucas Fowler and his girlfriend Chynna Deese (pictured) were found on the side of the road on Monday

Mr Fowler, from Sydney's Hills District, is the son of NSW Chief Inspector Stephen Fowler

Mr Fowler, from Sydney’s Hills District, is the son of NSW Chief Inspector Stephen Fowler

‘She’s is so deeply woven as a piece of my childhood and everyday life,’ he continued.

‘I am forever indebted to her for being such an amazing life companion and giving me so many reasons to smile.

‘Life throws curveballs and you made every one easier to handle. This is a curveball I did not expect. Losing you is going to hurt so much.’ 

Mr Deese told DailyMail.com his family were not worried about the pair travelling as they had meticulously planned their road trip.

‘They had travelled Europe and Asia together… they were always sensible and cautious,’ he stated.

He further added that his parents were left ‘shocked’ by the sudden and violent deaths and were in contact with Canadian police. 

In a heartbreaking statement on Friday evening, the Fowler family confirmed they lost Lucas (right with Ms Deese) in 'the most terrible circumstances'. They are now in the process of travelling to Canada 'to be with our boy and to bring him home'

In a heartbreaking statement on Friday evening, the Fowler family confirmed they lost Lucas (right with Ms Deese) in ‘the most terrible circumstances’. They are now in the process of travelling to Canada ‘to be with our boy and to bring him home’ 

The injuries inflicted were so 'brutal', Ms Deese's heartbroken brother, British Deese said, the family was told an open casket would not be allowed at her funeral

The injuries inflicted were so ‘brutal’, Ms Deese’s heartbroken brother, British Deese said, the family was told an open casket would not be allowed at her funeral

FOWLER FAMILY STATEMENT 

To our dear family and friends,

We have lost our dear Lucas Fowler, son, brother, grandson and friend in the most terrible of circumstances.

To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was travelling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating.

To know his beautiful girlfriend, Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina also lost her life in this violent event is too cruel. 

All our love and best wishes go to Chynna’s family and friends.

We are all now travelling to Canada to be with our boy and to bring him home.

Our deepest thanks for all your love and care. 

At this stage we can only move forward a minute at a time, and those minutes are moving so slowly. 

Please share this post with all those who may have crossed paths anywhere in the world with these beautiful young people. 

Amid reports the couple fell victim to a serial killer, Ms Deese’s father, Dwayne, told the Observer otherwise. 

‘I think of someone who has been convicted of violent crimes before, someone on drugs,’ he said.

‘What worries us is that person is still on the loose and they have a head start.

‘This is going to happen again. There needs to be some kind of a warning system in place for tourists.’ 

In a moving statement on Friday evening, the Fowler family confirmed they lost Lucas in ‘the most terrible circumstances’.   

‘To know his beautiful girlfriend, Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina also lost her life in this violent event is too cruel.’ 

Ms Deese’s sister Kennedy said the family are ‘heartbroken’. 

‘It is with overwhelming sadness that I share my sister Chynna and her beloved boyfriend Lucas were recently found deceased, homicide victims along a remote stretch of highway in Canada while on a road trip,’ she wrote on Facebook. 

'To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was travelling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating,' the Fowler family said of their son (pictured) in a statement

‘To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was travelling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating,’ the Fowler family said of their son (pictured) in a statement 

Ms Deese (pictured right with siblings) was a recent graduate from Appalachian State University who completed a bachelor's degree in psychology and business

Ms Deese (pictured right with siblings) was a recent graduate from Appalachian State University who completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology and business

‘They were bright and beautiful souls. We are all still in shock and heartbroken.’ 

Ms Deese’s former sorority Zeta Tau Alpha at Appalachian State University said they were honoured to call her a ‘sister’.  

‘She was such a kind and adventurous soul and we have been honored to call her our sister,’ they wrote on Facebook.

‘Our hearts are with Chynna’s family during this difficult time, and we are so thankful to everyone for the support and kindness we have already received.’     

On Ms Deese’s couchsurfing page, the 24-year-old wrote her ‘current mission’ is ‘traveling the world and looking to meet new people and experience new places from a local’s point of view’.

Ms Deese, who was learning Spanish and studied winemaking in France, described herself as ‘easy going’ and ‘open minded with a positive attitude’.

Ms Deese's sister Kennedy said the family are 'heartbroken' in a Facebook update

Ms Deese’s sister Kennedy said the family are ‘heartbroken’ in a Facebook update

On Ms Deese's couchsurfing page, the 24-year-old wrote her 'current mission' is 'travelling the world and looking to meet new people and experience new places from a local's point of view'

On Ms Deese’s couchsurfing page, the 24-year-old wrote her ‘current mission’ is ‘travelling the world and looking to meet new people and experience new places from a local’s point of view’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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