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Canadian authorities ramp up investigation

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 20/07/2019 Alexis Daish

Nine News has been told that Canadian authorities are ramping up their investigation into the killer responsible for the double murder of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American partner Chynna Deese, and that about 30 detectives are now involved in the case.

The Alaska Highway – where the couple’s bodies were found - is very remote but officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have been scouring the few businesses along the stretch for CCTV footage which might have captured their movements before their deaths.

The victims were travelling in an old blue Chevrolet van which Lucas fixed up especially for their road trip adventure through Canada, with plans to camp and visit the national parks.

They were only in their first day or so of the trip when things have taken a chilling turn.

Matt Kvesic posing for the camera: Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese were found dead on an isolated highway in Canada's north. © Supplied Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese were found dead on an isolated highway in Canada's north. Both were found dead not far from the van which was pulled over on the Alaska Highway about 20 kilometres south of the Liard Hot Springs. According to police, they were shot.

Lucas Fowler is the son of NSW Police Chief Inspector Stephen Fowler, who has now arrived in Canada, along with the rest of Lucas’ family.

a woman standing next to a body of water: Chynna Deese was found murdered alongside her boyfriend Lucas Fowler. © Supplied Chynna Deese was found murdered alongside her boyfriend Lucas Fowler. "He's a loss to so many people. And his girlfriend also - it's just devastating. And our heart goes out to the whole of her family," Mr Fowler told Nine News

"We are just crushed."

NSW Homicide detectives are already in Canada and met with the Fowler family to assist them in the US but the RCMP will conduct the investigation. Lucas’ family will be briefed today on their investigation and what’s being done to find the double killer who struck in the Northern Rockies.

There were concerns raised about the possibility of a serial killer in the region however yesterday authorities dismissed those fears, saying that there is no evidence of that and that this case is unique.

The family of Lucas’ girlfriend, Chynna Deese, are from North Carolina. Nine News understands that at this stage, they will not be travelling to Canada.

a person holding a fish: Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese were murdered in Canada. © NSW Police Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese were murdered in Canada. The motive behind this tragedy remains somewhat of a mystery. Police are still trying to narrow down the time frame that the couple were killed in that part of British Columbia. It’s understood they are currently speaking with locals who may have seen the couple the night before their bodies were discovered.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones told reporters in Sydney on Saturday that two homicide detectives, including Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Walpole, would act in a liaison-type role.

"The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) are an outstanding organisation, we have the utmost confidence in their capacity and capability to run this investigation but our commissioner has made a great decision to send over two officers ... purely to assist the families," he said.

"Just breaking down some of the communication and just really keeping us appraised and them appraised of what's going on."

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are leading the hunt for the killer.

"We recognise this news is troubling for the entire community and absolutely appreciate there are concerns for safety in an area that is popular with nature enthusiasts and tourists," RCMP Sergeant Janelle Shoihet told reporters on Friday.

"This investigation is in its very infancy and it is not yet clear whether Lucas and Chynna were targeted or is this was a crime of opportunity."

a truck is parked in front of a house: The couple were travelling in a Blue 1986 Chevrolet van with Alberta license plates. © Supplied The couple were travelling in a Blue 1986 Chevrolet van with Alberta license plates.

One of the last people to speak to the couple were Canadians Sandra and Curtis Broughton, who were driving past, saw the broken down blue van and stopped to help.

Mr Broughton was a mechanic.

"This makes my heart so sad," Ms Broughton wrote on Facebook.

"I can't believe that this young couple are dead now."

a person posing for the camera: The body of Lucas Fowler, the son of Hills District Chief Inspector Stephen Fowler, was found on the Alaska Highway on July 15. © Supplied The body of Lucas Fowler, the son of Hills District Chief Inspector Stephen Fowler, was found on the Alaska Highway on July 15.

The RCMP released photos of Mr Fowler, Ms Deese and their Chevrolet on Friday and issued a request for witnesses who were on the freeway between 4pm Sunday, July 14, and 8am Monday, July 15, to come forward.

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