A heartbroken Australian family are searching for answers after their son and his girlfriend were found dead on the side of a road in Canada this week before setting off on a round-the-world trip.
Lucas Fowler, 23, and his American partner Chynna Deese, 24, were discovered on a remote stretch of the Alaska Highway on July 15 around 20km from the popular Liard Hot Springs after being shot.
Canadian police have confirmed the couple were travelling together in a Blue 1986 Chevrolet van with Alberta licence plates before their deaths.
A murder investigation has been launched in Canada with Sergeant Janelle Shoihet explaining in a press conference they believe it is not linked to any other crime in the area.
“We recognise that this news is very troubling for the entire community and absolutely appreciate there may be concerns for safety in an area that is popular with nature tourists, nature enthusiasts and tourists,” she began.
“This investigation is in its very infancy and it’s not yet clear whether Lucas and Chynna were targeted or if this was a crime of opportunity.
“At this point we have nothing to indicate that their deaths are linked to any other active and ongoing investigations in that area of the province or that there’s a heightened risk.”
Police in Canada have launched a murder investigation into the deaths of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese after their bodies were found near a highway. https://t.co/pcaAiTOgXo #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/PUgtChsvxj
— 7NEWS Adelaide (@7NewsAdelaide) July 19, 2019
Tributes have begun to roll in for the pair with NSW Police issuing a statement from the family of Lucas, whose father Stephen Fowler is a senior officer.
“We have lost our dear Lucas Fowler, son, brother, grandson and friend in the most terrible of circumstances,” it reads.
“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.”
The family also announced they would be travelling to Canada as the investigations into their deaths continue while also explaining how heartbroken they were to hear of their son’s passing.
“Our deepest thanks for all your love and care,” the statement continued. “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.”
Meanwhile, Chynna’s sister Kennedy also took to social media to share a message following her sibling’s passing. The heartbroken sister described the couple as “bright and beautiful souls”.
“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.
“No further information is available at this time, please do not ask. They were bright and beautiful souls. We are all still in shock and heartbroken.”