'A kind and adventurous soul': Memorial for U.S. woman killed in B.C.
Family and friends held a memorial in North Carolina for Chynna Deese, one of the three victims in a string of killings in northern B.C. that has shaken many across the country.
On Saturday, several mourners brought sunflowers to honour the 24-year-old North Carolinian, who friends described as a lover of travel and adventure who was taken much too soon.
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At a podium set up outside of the private event at New City Church in Charlotte, N.C., one of the attendees told media, “when she walked through a door -- you could just tell -- everyone around her was just surrounded by her light.”
Deese’s brother British Deese told ABC News that the family has seen “thousands of people reach out to us who came in contact with her overseas, and sharing all kinds of experiences of how Lucas and Chynna has touched their lives.”
Tributes for the Deese have been pouring in since a GoFundMe page was set up to help the family cover the expenses for a funeral and the memorial. So far more than US$10,000 have been raised, with their goal being to reach US$15,000.
“She was a daughter, sister, girlfriend and friends,” the page reads, adding that she was “a bright, welcoming and infectious soul.”
Deese graduated from Appalachian State University and, according to a Facebook post from Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, she was also a member during her time there.
“She was such a kind and adventurous soul and we have been honored to call her our sister,” a statement from the group read.
MURDER SUSPECTS STILL AT LARGE
Deese had been on a road trip across Canada with her Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler, 23. Their bodies were both found on the side of the Alaska Highway in northern B.C. Police have said they were shot to death.
The RCMP are leading a Canada-wide manhunt for Kam McLeod, 18, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 19, who were both named as murder suspects in Deese’s and Fowler’s deaths.
The childhood friends from Port Alberni, B.C. were also charged with second-degree murder in the death of 64-year-old Leonard Dyck, a lecturer at the University of British Columbia.
The Royal Canadian Air Force has provided a Hercules aircraft to broaden the search for the murder suspects. Authorities believe they may have escaped Gillam, Man. after being “inadvertently” helped by someone who may not have known who they were.
McLeod and Schmegelsky are still at large and police are warning people not to approach them and to contact authorities if they’re spotted.