A Canadian police officer investigating the murders of an American tourist and her Australian boyfriend has revealed why the two baby-faced suspects are not just ‘a couple of teenagers.’
Australian Lucas Fowler, 24, and American Chynna Deese, 23, were found dead on Monday, July 15 after their van broke down on the Alaska Highway in British Columbia.
Police are now searching for Canadians Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, over the brutal murder of the couple.
The pair were initially reported missing on Friday after their truck was found burnt out near another dead body, and were believed to be dead.
But Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, Sergeant Janelle Shoihet confirmed the two are ‘in fact, alive and were last seen two provinces away from us here.’
While she was unable to give specifics on the ongoing investigation, she revealed there are ‘suspicious things with regards to the truck and the trailer and the man’s death.’
‘We do believe they’re on the move and we’re asking all of Canada and all of the world for us to assist us in locating Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky.’
Shot dead: Lucas Fowler, the 24-year-old son of an Australian police officer, and his girlfriend Chynna Deese, from Charlotte, North Carolina, were found dead on the Alaska Highway last Monday
World explorers: Chynna Deese (left) and Lucas Fowler (right) at the Grand Canyon and in Myanmar respectively. The couple met at a hostel in Croatia two years ago
‘We can tell you they’re from a city, a small town on the Vancouver Island, which is on the very west coast of British Columbia here in Canada.
The revelation comes after the mother of Ms Deese spoke of her heartache of losing her daughter
The mother of an American tourist who was killed alongside her Australian boyfriend has spoken out about her heartache over losing her daughter.
Deese and Fowler had only recently been reunited at a bison and beef cattle ranch, where Lucas had been working as a general ranch hand, when they set off on their ill-fated journey to Alaska.
Chynna’s mother Sheila had been awaiting her daughter’s return home on July 31.
The date had been circled on her calendar in her home in North Carolina. She has now been left with the gut-wrenching task of planning her funeral instead.
Chynna’s mother Sheila (pictured) had been awaiting her daughter’s return home on July 31. The date had been circled on her calendar in her home in North Carolina. She has now been left with the gut-wrenching task of planning her funeral instead
Sheila was first introduced to Lucas during Christmas last year after the pair met at a hostel in Croatia.
He had ‘fit right in’ and felt like part of the family straight away, Sheila told the ABC.
‘I knew they were so in love and the next step was we should be planning a wedding instead of a life celebration. I knew they were going to be forever,’ she said.
Chynna had only arrived at the Swiss-style cottage in Canada six-days before their trip.
The pair had spent their final few days working together completing the daily tasks, which included branding and tagging calves, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, shown above in newly released photos, are now considered suspects in the murders of an American woman and Australian backpacker. They are shown above in a photo believed to have been taken in Saskatchewan
Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky (pictured), 18, are wanted over the brutal murder of Australian Lucas Fowler, 24, and American Chynna Deese, 23
‘They were so in love and he was so looking forward to seeing her. He hadn’t seen Chynna since April,’ ranch owner Christophe Weder said.
‘He was the sweetest boy who had found the love of his life.’
While family and friends begin to mourn their loss, authorities are still hunting for the baby-faced duo suspected of murder.
Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, are wanted over the brutal murder of the couple.
On Friday, McLeod and Schmegelsky were reported missing after their truck was found burnt out near a third dead body.
Bryer Schmegelsky’s father Al on Monday told CBC they were ‘good boys on an adventure’ before the pair were named as suspects on Tuesday.
However, he has since revealed the pair had spent the past two years ‘training in war’ in the woods.
He has also admitted to local news outlet CHEK News his son was given an Airsoft replica gun as a present at his request years earlier.
‘My son he’s like, they’re huge into video games — all kids are — and two Christmases ago he asked me for an Airsoft gun, which is a replica gun, right?
‘So he was telling me: ‘well me and the fellas, we like to go in the woods and play war’ right?
Bryer is shown, left, in a recent social media picture clutching a bottle of vodka and with Kam, right, in a profile picture
A map showing where three bodies have been found and where the suspects are believed to be now
‘So knowing that the both of them are totally into that, if there was any threat, they would have done what they’ve actually trained themselves to do and they would have camouflaged themselves in the woods.’
Mr Schmegelsky did not believe the pair were responsible for the killings. He said Kam and Bryer were probably in the wrong place at the wrong time and fled for safety.
The boys – both 6ft4 – are believed to be in Saskatchewan, 1,600km from where the young couple’s bodies were found, and are thought to be dangerous.
The pair, who are elementary school friends, left Vancouver Island for Whitehorse in search of work sometime before the murders.
They stopped communicating with their families several days ago.
Canadian police issued an image of a person of interest (left) in the murder of couple Chynna Deese, and Lucas Fowler who was seen ‘arguing’ with the pair. Right: RCMP released a composite sketch of the man whose body was found around one mile south of burnt-out truck belonging to teenagers
It is unclear what shifted police to name them as suspects.
At a press conference on Tuesday, a police spokesman said: ‘If you see them, do not approach, take no action, and immediately call 911.’
The teenagers’ car was found 470 kilometres from the murdered couple.
It was burned out and abandoned.
Another body was found 2km from their vehicle but that person has not yet been named.
This is the red and grey Dodge ‘pickup truck’ that Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were travelling in when they disappeared
Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, who were described as missing yesterday, have now been named as suspects
Police will also not reveal whether or not that man was murdered, or how he died, but they say the teens are wanted in connection with his death.
On Monday, when they still considered them missing, police spokeswoman Dawn Roberts said of the teenagers: ‘Kam and Bryer have periodically connected with family and friends over the past week and it is possible that they are now in area without cell coverage.
‘However, we have found their vehicle and have not been able to locate either of them at this time.
‘We are asking for Kam or Bryer to connect with police right away and let us know you are okay.’
One witness claimed to have seen Mr Fowler and Ms Deese having a ‘heated exchange’ with a bearded man last Sunday.
On July 13 at around 7.30 pm, the pair filled up their blue van at a petrol station and were seen embracing on CCTV footage
It prompted police to release a drawing of the man in the hope of tracking him down.
Police refused to share details of what evidence – if any – they had to link the teens to the crime scene.
They have already come under fire from Ms Deese’s family for their handling of the investigation.
Her father told The Charlotte Observer that the killer got a ‘headstart’ because police were so slow to move.
‘I don’t think it’s a serial killer. I think of someone who has been convicted of violent crimes before, someone on drugs. That fits the profile better.
‘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,’ he told The Charlotte Observer last week.
‘It’s the worst love story ever’: Lucas Fowler’s father breaks down as he talks about the double murder
Mr Fowler’s father Stephen, a senior NSW Police officer, addressed media at a press conference in Canada on Monday.
He said the pair were beautiful and loved each other and their deaths had torn two families apart.
Talking about his son’s trip, he said: ‘He came to Canada and he planned a trip in a van with Chynna.
‘It’s a love story that’s ended tragically. It’s the worst ever love story.
‘We have two young people who had everything ahead of them who have been murdered.’
‘I may be an experienced police officer, but today I’m standing here as the father of a murder victim,’ Fowler said.
‘Nothing prepares my family for what we are going through now.’
‘We’re just distraught’.
Mr Fowler’s father Stephen (pictured), a senior NSW Police officer, addressed media at a press conference in Canada on Monday
Trip of a lifetime: On Saturday night, at around 7.30pm, the pair filled up their blue van at a petrol station and were seen embracing on CCTV footage
On Tuesday footage emerged of Mr Fowler and Ms Deese filling up their blue van at a petrol station in Fort Nelson two days before they were found dead.
The heartbreaking video showed Ms Deese cleaning the van’s windows while Mr Fowler filled up the tank.
Ms Deese put the window cleaner down and perched by the pumps before her boyfriend tickled her belly and wrapped his arms around her.
The couple then went inside to pay, got back into their van and continued their trip of a lifetime.
But at some point between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, the couple were brutally murdered at the side of the road.
BRITISH COLUMBIA BACKPACKER FEARS: A TIMELINE
Monday, July 15, 2019: At 7.19am, Royal Mounted Canadian Police are called to the side of the road on the Alaska Highway, in remote British Columbia.
Police found the bodies of a young man and young woman about 20km south of the Liard Hot Springs, not far from a beat-up blue minivan.
Tuesday, July 16: Police publicly announce the two bodies were found dead on the side of Highway 97 but say ‘no further information is available’
Wednesday, July 17: Investigators ask anyone who may have seen, or have dashcam footage, between 4pm Sunday and 8am Monday to come forward
Thursday, July 18: Detectives confirm the identities of the two dead as Lucas Fowler, 24, and Chynna Deese, 23
Some 470km away near Dease Lake, police discover an abandoned truck and find the body of a man
July 21: Witness tells media of seeing a ‘bearded man’ having a ‘heated exchange’ with Fowler and Deese on the side of the highway
July 22: Pictures emerge of Fowler and Deese’s minivan with a blown out back window
Police issue urgent appeal for two men who have gone missing near Dease Lake, Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18
July 23: McLeod and Schmegelsky are named as suspects