Bearded man may hold key to Canada killings

A bearded man driving a Jeep Cherokee could hold to key to solving the shooting of Australian tourist and his US girlfriend, and potentially another grisly death.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police released a sketch on Monday of the man who was seen by a passerby talking to Lucas Fowler on a remote highway in northern British Columbia a week ago.

Mr Fowler (23) from Sydney, and Ms Chynna Deese (24) from North Carolina, were stranded on the highway after their blue 1986 Chevrolet van broke down on the afternoon of July 14.

They were found dead in a ditch the next day.

The RCMP raised fears the couple may be victims of a killing crime spree in northern BC by declaring it was possible the killings are linked to the discovery on Friday of another dead man, two missing teenagers and a torched Dodge pickup truck.

"It's possible," RCMP Corporal Chris Manseau told reporters.

"We have two complex and dynamic ongoing investigations that are happening in northern BC."

The man who was seen talking to Mr Fowler was described "as Caucasian with darker skin and dark hair".

"He's shorter than Lucas, who stood six foot three (190cm), and has a possible beard or glasses," RCMP Sergeant Janelle Shoihet.

The RCMP originally played down speculation of a serial killer or crime spree linking the deaths of Mr Fowler and Ms Deese to Friday's discovery 470km away of the body, missing teenagers and the burning Dodge truck.

"We just know more about both incidents," said Corporal Manseau, explaining the alarming change.

The two missing teenagers are 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky from Port Alberni, BC.

The RMCP said Mr McLeod and Mr Schmegelsky were driving the Dodge pickup but have not been in contact with their family for the last few days.

Sgt Shoihet said investigators are not treating the teens as suspects but want them to contact authorities.

"We're hopeful they alive," Sgt Shoihet said.

The body found 2km  from their pickup was not one of the teens, but a bearded man aged 50 to 60-years-old.

The RCMP have been unable to identify the dead man and also released his sketch.

Mr Fowler's father, Stephen Fowler, a senior NSW Police officer, addressed the media at the press conference.

"I may be an experienced police officer but I'm standing here as the father of the murder victim," Chief Inspector Fowler, of Sydney's north-west Hills district, told reporters.

"We're just distraught."




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