Update (July 19):
At 2:35 p.m., Northern Rockies RCMP released photos of the van that was located at the scene on Highway 97 where the bodies of 24-year-old Chynna Noelle Deese of the United States and 23-year-old Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found.
The vehicle is identified as a blue 1986 Chevrolet van with Alberta licence plates.
As the investigation is still in its early stages, RCMP stated that it remains unclear if Fowler and Deese were targeted or not, and there haven't been any connections made to any other investigations in the area.
RCMP added that it remains unknown if there is heightened risk to the public or not.
Investigators want to speak with anyone who may have been travelling near B.C.'s Liard Hot Springs, including any camping areas, and on the Alaska Highway 97 between 4 p.m. om July 14 and 8 a.m. on July 15, particularly those who have dashcam footage.
Anyone with information or footage about the van, Fowler, or Deese is asked to contact the Northern Rockies RCMP in Fort Nelson, B.C., at 250-774-2700.
B.C. RCMP also stated that Fowler's father is a member of Australia's New South Wales Police Force who is traveling to Canada with his family and is being accompanied by Australian police officers, who will not be part of the Canadian investigative team.
Original article (July 19):
B.C. RCMP have revealed that the two individuals who were found murdered earlier this week on a highway in northern British Columbia were tourists from abroad.
Around 7:19 a.m. on July 15, Northern Rockies RCMP were called to a location on Highway 97, also known as the Alaska Highway, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Liard Hot Springs, B.C.
Officers who arrived at the scene found the bodies of two adults, and both deaths appeared suspicious.
An older blue minivan with Alberta license plates was also located at the scene.
On July 18, Northern Rockies RCMP revealed that they had confirmed the identities of the victims.
B.C. RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Janelle Shoihet stated in a news release that the two individuals are Chynna Noelle Deese of the United States and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia.
Sgt. Janelle Shoihet explained that their names are being released in order to help the investigation in the hope of establishing a timeline that led up to their deaths.
Today (July 19), Australia’s New South Wales Police Force posted a statement from Fowler’s family, who are now traveling to Canada.
“We have lost our dear Lucas Fowler, son, brother, grandson and friend in the most terrible of circumstances,” the message 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.”
Investigators believe the double homicide occurred between July 14 and July 15.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Northern Rockies RCMP, located in Fort Nelson, B.C., at 250-774-2700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.