Family and friends are remembering Chynna Deese, one of three victims in the string of shocking killings in northern B.C., as a lover of travel and adventure who was taken much too soon.
Tributes to Deese, 24, of Charlotte, N.C., have been flowing into a GoFundMe account setup by a family friend a few days after since police identified her and her boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, as the two victims who were shot along the Alaska Highway, 50 kilometres south of Liard Hot Springs.
“She was a daughter, sister, girlfriend and friends,” the page reads, adding that she was “a bright, welcoming and infectious soul.”
RCMP have declared Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky as suspects in the couple’s death.
The fundraising page was created to help the Deese family cover expenses for a funeral and memorial. As of Thursday morning, $8,800 had been raised. While Deese’s family has remained quiet to the public through the BC RCMP investigation, which has now stretched nationwide, friends are shedding light online to who the North Carolina woman was.
“My heart is truly broken for the family of Chynna and Lucas,” Michelle Allen wrote. “My heart also goes out to all the friends who held them both so dear. Chynna was such a beautiful person inside and out and made a mark on my entire family. The Moore’s were truly blessed to have met her.”
According to Lucas Fowler’s father, Stephen, the two met while travelling. He said the pair became inseparable, describing his son as a “fun-loving guy with a heart of gold,” and Deese as a “beautiful young lady” and the couple as a “great pair.”
“It’s a love story that’s ended tragically. It’s the worst ever love story,” Stephen said.
Deese and Fowler met in Croatia while both were travelling the world in 2o17.
Photos of Deese shared on the GoFundMe page show her playing pool with friends, as well as graduation photos taken at Appalachian State University and numerous others of her time travelling with Fowler. According to a Facebook post from the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, Deese was a member during her time at the state school.
“She was such a kind and adventurous soul and we have been honored to call her our sister,” the statement reads.
“She was always so friendly and kind every time I was with her,” Don Gies wrote on the fundraising page, who said he was fraternity brothers with one of Deese’s siblings, British.
McLeod and Schmegelsky remain on the run from police in connection to the killings of Deese and Fowler, as well as University of B.C. lecturer Leonard Dyck. Their last known whereabouts were a remote area of northern Manitoba, called Gillam, on Monday evening. The police’s efforts to capture the two men have captivated international attention.
The suspects have been charged with second-degree murder in Dyck’s death, but have not been charged for the deaths of Deese and Fowler as of Thursday morning.
Canadians also took to the GoFundMe page, voicing their condolences.
“My heart is broken for these families,” a person who called themselves D Webber wrote. “I am saddened that this happened in the country I live in and these young amazing people were here visiting. My deepest condolences.
“Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your beautiful daughter,” wrote Jackie P. “I am a Canadian citizen and I am so deeply saddened by what happened. God Bless you all.
A couple, named Braden and Shaelee, said they were finishing their own road trip through B.C. when they heard of Deese’s death.
“… Read of this news while we were at our last campsite. We cannot let the fear of this persons actions haunt us, but instead we will focus on the love these two shared, and the lust for life and travel that we share with them,” they wrote.
“May they rest in peace, be forever together, may your families find closure and peace, and may the suspect be taken out of the public, brought to justice and face the severe consequences. Sending all the love and positive energy your way.”