SURREY, Canada — A public report released by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Sept. 27 stated that the July murders of a 2017 Appalachian State University graduate, her boyfriend and another man in northern British Columbia were random acts of violence and the two murderers expressed no remorse before taking their own lives three weeks later.
Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, of Charlotte, and her boyfriend, Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23, of Australia, were parked on the side of a remote stretch of highway near Liard River in northern British Columbia when they were shot and killed by Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, both of Port Alberni, Canada, on either July 14 or 15, police said.
“The investigative theory is that McLeod and Schmegelsky came across Lucas Fowler’s van and targeted Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese for unknown reasons,” said British Columbia RCMP Assistant Commissioner and Criminal Operations Officer Kevin Hackett in a Sept. 27 statement. “They shot and killed the couple before continuing up into the Yukon.”
Deese received a bachelor’s of science in psychology in spring 2017, as confirmed by ASU spokesperson Megan Hayes, and was a member of ASU’s Zeta Tau Alpha sorority chapter.
The Sept. 27 RCMP statement included a statement from the Deese family.
“No one ever wants to be a victim or wishes that for their loved one,” the Deese family statement says. “Our beloved Chynna was a ray of sunshine, and for her to be taken has made the world feel a bit darker. The impact of such horrendous crimes was felt rippling throughout many communities and we would like to express sincere gratitude to the general public for their empathy and aid during the investigation and manhunt. Many thanks to the men and women of uniform for their tireless efforts as a piece of justice has been served in knowing the conclusion of this case. The overwhelming contribution of time and resources offered over the past few months is a testament to the dedication to service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”
“The loss we continue to endure is shattering, but Chynna’s memories are a benediction to her genuine happiness and intense love of life,” the Deese family statement continues. “Throughout this tragedy, along with the help of many, they serve as our reminder of the good nature and peace humanity has the capacity to show. We hope Chynna’s legacy continues to grow and her spark allows us to build each other up. We also politely ask that media respect our privacy at this time.”
On July 19, RCMP were notified of a deceased male near Dease Lake, approximately 290 miles by car from where Fowler and Deese were found. The man turned out to be Leonard Dyck, 64, of Vancouver, who was also shot and killed by the suspects, according to the RCMP.
“The two returned to (British Columbia) days later because they were having vehicle issues and came across Leonard Dyck outside of Dease Lake and shot and killed him,” Hackett stated.
The suspects then burned their vehicle near where they killed Dyck and took his vehicle, along with his money, camera and ID cards, police said.
The suspects traveled east more than 2,100 miles through Alberta and Saskatchewan to an area of the Nelson River near the town of Gillam in northern Manitoba in early August.
“Once they reached Manitoba they again burned the stolen vehicle and attempted to continue on foot, before they realized their efforts were failing,” Hackett said. “It is believed that McLeod shot Schmegelsky before shooting himself.”
The bodies of the two suspects were discovered on Aug. 7. Three still images and six videos were discovered on Dyck’s stolen digital camera, recovered from the site of their bodies.
“In the videos, the suspects took responsibility for all three murders,” Hackett said. “They indicated no remorse for their actions and their intentions to potentially kill others. They also described their intent to commit suicide and their wish to be cremated. These videos do not contain any information regarding the motive behind their actions nor do they provide specifics regarding the murders.”
The videos and still images won’t be released, Hackett said.
Hackett said the RCMP believes there are no other suspects responsible or involved with the three homicides and the acts were “random and crimes of opportunity.”