Montreal: Two homicide victims found this week in western Canada are the son of a high-ranking Australian police official and the young man's US girlfriend, Canadian police said.
The bodies of Lucas Robertson Fowler, a 23-year-old Sydney native, and Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, from the US state of North Carolina, were discovered Monday along a remote stretch of highway in northern British Columbia province, the police said in a statement late Friday.
A blue Chevrolet minivan registered in neighboring Alberta province was found on the side of the road, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said, without confirming whether the van belonged to the couple.
Fowler had settled in British Columbia, local news media said, but the pair had been traveling extensively. Deese's family told US media that the couple had embarked on a road trip through Canada.
Fowler was the son of Stephen Fowler, chief inspector of police in New South Wales, Australia. An Australian police official said the couple "met with what can only be described as horrific circumstances."
The RCMP said its investigation was "in its very infancy and it is not yet clear whether Lucas and Chynna were targeted or if this was a crime of opportunity."
The families of both victims were traveling to Canada, the RCMP statement said.
"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 posted on an Australian police website.
"Our deepest thanks for all your love and care. At this stage we can only move forward a minute at a time, and those minutes are moving so slowly," the family said.
Investigators remain in the area and have asked anyone who visited nearby camping sites or Liard Hot Springs, a popular stopping point some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from where the couple was discovered, to contact authorities.
The RCMP said that the area is "popular with nature enthusiasts and tourists."
Local media reported a third body had been found Friday along a stretch of Canadian highway. However, the RCMP confirmed that the individual was discovered at a distance of more than seven hours by car from the double homicide.
"There is no indication that there is a link between the two cases," RCMP Sergeant Janelle Shoihet told AFP.