Canadian authorities investigating the highway murders of an American tourist and her Australian boyfriend say the two baby-faced suspects are ‘dangerous’ and ‘not just a couple of teenagers.’
Lucas Fowler, 24, from Sydney, and Chynna Deese, 23, from North Carolina, were found dead on July 15 after their van broke down on the Alaska Highway, British Columbia.
Police are now searching for Canadians Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, who are suspects in the brutal murders.
The two teens were initially reported missing on Friday after their truck was found burnt out near another dead body of a man, and were believed to be dead.
But Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Sergeant Janelle Shoihet confirmed the two are ‘in fact, alive and were last seen two provinces away’ in Saskatchewan.
Sgt Shoihet said the teens are believed to be dangerous, and revealed there are ‘suspicious things’ in regards to the truck and trailer, as well as the third person’s death.
‘We do believe they’re on the move and we’re asking all of Canada and all of the world to assist us in locating Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, who are now believed to be dangerous,’ she told ABC’s 7.30 on Wednesday.
The two boys are from a small town on Vancouver Island, located on the far west coast of British Columbia.
Investigators also believed they may be targeting isolated areas as the three victims were found in regions that are not well-populated.
The suspects were also spotted in ‘very rural parts’ of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Sgt Shoihet said.
‘Maybe why they’re trying to go to those areas because they are less populated and may have less access to news agencies and be able to get the information out.’
Ms Shoihet, who has been an officer with the RCMP for more than 13 years, called the nature case ‘highly unusual.’
The revelation comes after Ms Deese’s mother spoke of her heartache of losing her daughter.
The couple had only recently been reunited at a bison and beef cattle ranch, where Lucas had been working as a general ranch hand, when they set off on their ill-fated journey to Alaska.
Chynna’s mother Sheila had been awaiting her daughter’s return home on July 31.
The date had been circled on her calendar in her home in North Carolina. She has now been left with the gut-wrenching task of planning her funeral instead.
Sheila was first introduced to Lucas during Christmas last year after the pair met at a hostel in Croatia.
He had ‘fit right in’ and felt like part of the family straight away, Sheila told the ABC.
‘I knew they were so in love and the next step was we should be planning a wedding instead of a life celebration. I knew they were going to be forever,’ she said.
Chynna had only arrived at the Swiss-style cottage in Canada six-days before their trip.
The pair had spent their final few days working together completing the daily tasks, which included branding and tagging calves, The Daily Telegraph reported.
‘They were so in love and he was so looking forward to seeing her. He hadn’t seen Chynna since April,’ ranch owner Christophe Weder said.
‘He was the sweetest boy who had found the love of his life.’
While family and friends begin to mourn their loss, authorities are still hunting for the baby-faced duo suspected of murder.
Bryer Schmegelsky’s father Al on Monday told CBC they were ‘good boys on an adventure’ before the pair were named as suspects on Tuesday.
However, he has since revealed the pair had spent the past two years ‘training in war’ in the woods.
He has also admitted to local news outlet CHEK News his son was given an Airsoft replica gun as a present at his request years earlier.
‘My son, he’s like, they’re huge into video games — all kids are — and two Christmases ago he asked me for an Airsoft gun, which is a replica gun, right?
‘So he was telling me: “well, me and the fellas, we like to go in the woods and play war” right?
‘So knowing that the both of them are totally into that, if there was any threat, they would have done what they’ve actually trained themselves to do and they would have camouflaged themselves in the woods.’
Mr Schmegelsky did not believe the pair were responsible for the killings. He said Kam and Bryer were probably in the wrong place at the wrong time and fled for safety.
The boys – both 6ft 4in – are believed to be in Saskatchewan, 1,600km from where the young couple’s bodies were found, and are thought to be dangerous.
The pair, who are elementary school friends, left Vancouver Island for Whitehorse in search of work sometime before the murders.
They stopped communicating with their families several days ago.
It is unclear what shifted police to name them as suspects.
At a press conference on Tuesday, a police spokesman said: ‘If you see them, do not approach, take no action, and immediately call 911.’
The teenagers’ car was found 470 kilometres from the murdered couple.
It was burned out and abandoned.
Another body was found 2km from their vehicle but that person has not yet been named.
Police will also not reveal whether or not that man was murdered, or how he died, but they say the teens are wanted in connection with his death.
On Monday, when they still considered them missing, police spokeswoman Dawn Roberts said of the teenagers: ‘Kam and Bryer have periodically connected with family and friends over the past week and it is possible that they are now in area without cell coverage.
‘However, we have found their vehicle and have not been able to locate either of them at this time.
‘We are asking for Kam or Bryer to connect with police right away and let us know you are okay.’
One witness claimed to have seen Mr Fowler and Ms Deese having a ‘heated exchange’ with a bearded man last Sunday.
It prompted police to release a drawing of the man in the hope of tracking him down.
They have already come under fire from Ms Deese’s family for their handling of the investigation.
Her father told The Charlotte Observer that the killer got a ‘headstart’ because police were so slow to move.
‘I don’t think it’s a serial killer. I think of someone who has been convicted of violent crimes before, someone on drugs. That fits the profile better.
‘What worries us is that person is still on the loose and they have a head start. This is going to happen again.
‘There needs to be some kind of a warning system in place for tourists,’ he told The Charlotte Observer last week.
On Tuesday footage emerged of Mr Fowler and Ms Deese filling up their blue van at a petrol station in Fort Nelson two days before they were found dead.
The heartbreaking video showed Ms Deese cleaning the van’s windows while Mr Fowler filled up the tank.
Ms Deese put the window cleaner down and perched by the pumps before her boyfriend tickled her belly and wrapped his arms around her.
The couple then went inside to pay, got back into their van and continued their trip of a lifetime.
But at some point between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, the couple were brutally murdered at the side of the road.