Mounties have released a sketch of a man they call a person of interest in their investigation into the murders of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese on the Alaska Highway last week.
Police released the sketch Monday afternoon, and say he was seen speaking with Fowler on the evening of Sunday, July 14. They are asking for the public's help to identify and locate him.
"This man may not be aware that investigators are interested in speaking to him," Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said.
The man may be associated with an older model Jeep Cherokee with a black stripe on its hood similar to a racing stripe, and a black light/bull bar with small, covered lights, police said. It’s believed he was travelling southbound.
The man is described as Caucasian, with darker skin and dark hair. He has a possible beard, or glasses, and stood slightly smaller than Fowler, who was six-foot-three, according to police.
According to one witness, a bearded man was seen in some sort of confrontation with Fowler and Deese the evening of July 14. The man was reportedly standing in the middle of the road, staring at them with his arms open. The couple looked bothered, the witness said.
Other witnesses who saw the couple on the afternoon of Sunday, July 14, say the couple's van had broken down.
They were later found shot to death outside their van just south of Liard Hot Springs around 7 a.m. on July 15. Officials said Monday they are advancing their investigation to the best of their abilities.
"Investigators are working through a number of tips and tasks, including speaking with individuals who saw or spoke with the couple, analyzing forensic and digital evidence along with reviewing hours of CCTV and dashcam video footage," Shoihet said.
"The number and types of specialized services and investigators continues to fluctuate based on investigative need."
Video surveillance released
Fowler is from Australia was working in the region at a ranch in Hudson's Hope. Deese was from Charlotte, North Carolina.
The couple met in Croatia in 2017, and spent their time travelling through Europe, Central America, and Asia. They were in Canada to spend time working on a cattle ranch and visiting the country's iconic national parks.
Fowler’s father, Stephen, spoke to media on Monday, and said he was hopeful for a positive end to the investigation, and urged the public to contact police with any information they may have.
“This has torn two families apart,” he said. "It’s a love story that ended tragically."
Meanwhile, RCMP released two surveillance videos showing Fowler and Deese fuelling up at a gas station in Fort Nelson on the evening of July 13. They urged anyone with information to speak with police before anyone else.
"Police are again appealing to the public to come forward and speak with investigators about any interactions or conversations that you had with Chynna or Lucas," Shoihet said.
"We have also seen on social and mainstream media many accounts from people who have information for investigators. It is imperative that prior to sharing that information with anybody else that you speak to our investigation so you can give us that information first-hand, and your first account."
Shoihet acknowledged the investigation is just one of two major investigations ongoing in Northern B.C., including the disappearance of two young men and a dead body found near their burning truck south of Dease Lake on Friday, July 19.
"We are mindful that it is an area that will see seasonal travellers and campers from abroad, as well as motorists and businesses moving from B.C., Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Alaska," Shoihet said.
Shoihet stressed the importance of "heightened vigilance" for those travelling through the area, and that they should camp in known and established locations.
Travellers should share plans with friends and family, establish check-in times, and notify people if their plans change, Shoihet said.
Police are looking to speak with anyone who may have seen or spoken to Fowler or Deese between 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 14, and 8 a.m. on Monday, July 15.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Northern Rockies RCMP at 250-774-2700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.