Chynna Deese and her boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, were experienced globe-trotters who knew how to travel safely. This trip to Canada was one of many adventures the couple had taken together, British Deese, Chynna’s brother, told The Washington Post.
But on July 15, they were found dead on the side of a Canadian highway with gunshot wounds.
Days later, a burning truck and an unidentified corpse were discovered on a separate highway, hundreds of miles away.
Despite the distance from where the couple was found, the flaming crime scene generated suspicion about a possible connection. It also triggered a missing-person report for the two people who had been traveling in the truck — 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky.
On Wednesday evening, and despite not having caught the suspects yet, Canadian authorities charged Schmegelsky and McLeod with one count each of second-degree murder for the death of the previously unidentified man, Leonard Dyck, from Vancouver, B.C., who was found near the first burning truck.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba confirmed that on Monday they had recovered the remains of the second car the teens were using — a Toyota RAV4, also set on fire.
On Tuesday, Canadian authorities had named the missing teens as suspects in connection with both investigations: the deaths of Deese and Fowler, and the death of Dyck.
Remote, mountainous and forested, northern British Columbia is popular among tourists and outdoor enthusiasts.
Deese and Fowler had been traveling through Canada together in a 1986 Chevrolet van, which was also found near their bodies, police said.
Fowler’s father, Stephen Fowler, a member of the New South Wales police department in Australia, traveled to British Columbia and provided a statement on Monday.
“We are just distraught,” he said after a police news conference. “This has really torn two families apart. Our son Lucas was having the time of his life traveling the world. He met a beautiful young lady. And they teamed up, they were a great pair, and they fell in love.”
British Deese said the new developments give him a slight sense of closure and that he hopes something will come from the manhunt. He previously told The Post that his sister “brought new things, new experiences, new people, new friends, and everything to everyone she met.”