The family of an Australian man found murdered in a remote part of northern B.C., along with his American girlfriend, arrived in Vancouver Saturday to pay tribute to the slain couple.
"He's a loss to so many people," said Stephen Fowler, father of the 23-year-old Lucas Fowler. "And his girlfriend also. It’s just devastating and our heart goes out to the whole of her family. You know, we’re just crushed."
The bodies of Fowler and his 24-year-old American girlfriend Chynna Deese were discovered early Monday morning along the Alaska Highway.
Canadian investigators haven’t confirmed how the couple died, but say the case is being treated as a double homicide. They are still hunting for a suspect.
“They were found brutally murdered and most of their belongings left there,” said Deese’s brother, British Deese in an interview with Good Morning America.
“It doesn’t add up and it’s concerning. We’re never going to get full closure on this and it’s going to hurt the rest of our lives.”
RCMP believe Fowler, originally from Sydney, was living in B.C. working on a cattle ranch, when Deese came to visit him.
Deese’s brother said the couple was planning a trip across Canada in a converted van, and were planning to camp in several national parks. The couple’s blue 1986 Chevrolet van was found at the scene.
He said his sister met Fowler while she was working in a hostel in Croatia.
“They had plans for the future,” Deese’s mother Sheila Deese added.
“They were meant to be. She loved him so much.”
Fowler’s father Stephen Fowler is chief inspector with the New South Wales police force in Australia.
Members of the Fowler family are travelling to Canada with a number of police officers.
According to ABC News, Insp. Fowler’s colleagues say both victims were shot to death.
His family described Fowler as a son, brother, grandson and friend who was lost in a terrible circumstance.
"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 in a Facebook post.
"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 Fowler family thanked those who have reached out to express their sympathy and asked that their statement be shared with anyone who'd crossed paths with the couple.
"At this stage we can only move forward a minute at a time, and those minutes are moving slowly."
--- With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Kendra Mangione