American woman and Australian boyfriend found dead along highway in Canada

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By Minyvonne Burke  with NBC News World News
Image: Chynna Noelle Deese
Chynna Noelle Deese   -   Copyright  Royal Canadian Mounted Police

An American woman and her Australian boyfriend were found dead earlier this week along a highway in British Columbia, Canada.

The bodies of Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, and Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23, were found just before 7:20 a.m. Monday on Alaska Highway 97 near Liard Hot Springs, a popular tourist attraction, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

A blue Chevrolet van the couple was believed to have been traveling in was found at the scene.

Chynna Noelle Deese
Chynna Noelle DeeseRoyal Canadian Mounted Police

According to the Charlotte Observer, Deese and Fowler were shot.

Police spokeswoman Janelle Shoihet declined to confirm how the couple was killed when contacted by NBC News on Saturday. At a news conference on Friday, Shoihet said the deaths are considered homicides.

Investigators are asking anyone who was in the area of Liard Hot Springs between July 14 at 4 p.m. to July 15 at 8 a.m. to contact police.

"We are particularly interested in speaking with anyone who may have dashcam footage," the department said in a press release.

Deese was from Charlotte, North Carolina. Her brother, British Deese, told the Charlotte Observer that she and Fowler had been together since 2017 after meeting at a hostel in Croatia. British said Fowler had recently moved to Canada after getting a job on a cattle farm.

"They were deeply in love," he said. "They met traveling and that's just what they did - travel. He was working in Canada and they were planning an extensive road trip there for three weeks. They were going to spend a week on the ranch and the second half of the trip going to national parks in Canada."

Lucas Robertson Fowler
Lucas Robertson FowlerRoyal Canadian Mounted Police

The couple had just begun their road trip in Canada when they were murdered, according to Deese's brother.

Fowler's father is an active member of the police force in New South Wales, Australia, police in Canada said.

"We have lost our dear Lucas Fowler, son, brother, grandson and friend in the most terrible of circumstances. To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was traveling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating," the Fowler family said in a statement on the New South Wales police website.

"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," said the statement, which added that the Fowlers are heading to Canada "to be with our boy and to bring him home."