Thursday 22 August 2019

Missing teenagers could be linked to gun murder of two tourists - police

Shot: Chynna Deese, who along with her boyfriend was found dead
Shot: Chynna Deese, who along with her boyfriend was found dead

Moira Warburton

Two concurrent investigations in northern Canada - a search for two missing teenagers, days after a double homicide of an Australian and an American on a remote highway - could be connected, Canadian federal police said yesterday.

"It's unusual to have two major investigations of this nature going on at the same time in northern British Columbia, so we recognise the possibility that these could be linked," said Janelle Shoihet, spokeswoman or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Lucas Fowler (23) from Sydney, Australia and his girlfriend Chynna Deese (24), from Charlotte, North Carolina, were wrapping up a two-week-long road trip through Canada when their bodies were found on Highway 97, 20km south of Liard Hot Springs, a popular tourist destination.

The pair were victims of gun violence, the RCMP said.

The police believe their murder occurred between 4pm on July 14 and 7am on July 15.

It took three days for the bodies to be identified as those of Mr Fowler, son of a chief inspector with the New South Wales Police Force, and Ms Deese.

RCMP also said they are searching for two missing teens believed to have been driving a vehicle that was found in flames on a highway about 500km from the site of the couple's murder, leading to speculation in local media about a connection between the two cases.

A body was found 2km from the burning car, which was identified as not being either of the missing teens.

Police cannot confirm any relationship but are searching for information regardless.

The search for the two teens remains a missing persons case. "We're hopeful they're going to get in contact with us when they see this news broadcast going out," Ms Shoihet said.

"To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was travelling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating," Mr Fowler's family said in a statement, adding Ms Deese's death was also "too cruel".

"All our love and best wishes go to Chynna's family and friends," they said.

Stephen Fowler, the victim's father, said "nothing prepares me, nothing prepares my family, for what we're going through now."

Irish Independent

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