New clue in Highway 37 murders

A NEW  picture of the old van used by murdered couple Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese has emerged, showing the rear window has been smashed in.

Mr Fowler, 23, and his American girlfriend Ms Deese, 24, were the victims of a violent murder that left them unrecognisable after the van broke down on Canadian Highway 37 on Monday.

The pair were found a short distance from their blue 1986 Chevrolet van but so far police have only a few clues to work with.

Family members of the victims have begun speaking out as a massive manhunt enters its second week amid fears a serial killer is on the run.

Mr Fowler's father, NSW Police Chief Inspector Stephen Fowler, has arrived in the US along with two experienced NSW homicide detectives.

 

 

The happy couple were murdered on a stretch of Canadian highway on Monday.
The happy couple were murdered on a stretch of Canadian highway on Monday.

He told Nine News the family was "crushed". He said his son was "just a wonderful boy".

"It's just so devastating … we're just crushed," Insp Fowler said.

Ms Deese's brother British Deese spoke with Sunrise this morning from his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, revealing details of the couple's plans. He said the trip they were on was no different to previous adventures.

"They have gone on road trips around the country, across North and South America. This is just what they did and loved doing together," he said.

"This wasn't any different … it wasn't really anything different from what they have done for the past one-and-a-half years. In seeing all the national parks and travelling up the Alaskan highway seeing what they can."

Mr Deese said something went horribly wrong and the family was struggling to get answers.

"I know there was at least somebody who saw them while they were breaking and pulled off the side of the road and asked if they needed help," Mr Deese told the program.

"Maybe the van overheated and they were waiting for it to cool down. They were planning on getting back on the road and they didn't feel like they needed help or anything."

 

The couple’s van had broken down. Picture: Royal Canadian Mounted Police/AAP
The couple’s van had broken down. Picture: Royal Canadian Mounted Police/AAP

"Something happened and it was unexplained after that. That is the extent of what anyone knows for the most part. It is really very frustrating."

Police are searching for a vehicle that belongs to a mystery bearded man seen arguing with the couple before they were murdered.

A witness told Nine News they saw the man in a heated exchange with the pair on the side of the road.

But Ms Deese's father Dwayne Deese says he doesn't believe a serial killer is on the loose.

"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," Mr Deese told The Charlotte Observer.

"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."

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Corporal Chris Manseau told the Associated Press on Sunday it was unusual for "these events" to occur in that remote part of Canada.

 

Sandra and Curtis Broughton were the last people to see the couple alive.
Sandra and Curtis Broughton were the last people to see the couple alive.

"Northern (British Columbia) is a really big area and yet they don't have a lot of these events," he said.

"Two of them have happened within a couple of days of each and people want to speculate.

"The last I heard there was nothing to tie either of those two together although investigators are looking at all of the leads."

The second event he referred to was the death of a man found further along the highway on Friday near a burning vehicle. Police have stressed they have no information to link the two events.

Passing motorists Curtis and Sandra Broughton were the last people to see Mr Fowler and Ms Deese alive. The Canadian couple stopped to offer assistance just before 3.30pm on Sunday.

Mr Broughton, a mechanic, said he spoke to Mr Fowler, but the 23-year-old seemed to know how to fix the van.

"The vehicle was flooded out and they were going to try and get it going again until they could get the parts they needed," Mr Broughton told AAP.

The Broughtons got back in their car and drove home.

Mr Fowler and Ms Deese were found dead the next day.


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