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Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler

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'We were overjoyed for Lucas,' Fowler's father, Stephen, told a news conference. 'He met a beautiful young lady. They teamed up. They were a great pair and they fell in love.'/The Canadian Press

Chynna Deese, an American, and Australian Lucas Fowler were living the latest chapter of their love story when things took a horrifying twist, leaving both dead of gunshot wounds. They were found on July 15 near Liard Hot Springs, south of the B.C.-Yukon boundary.

Stephen Fowler, Lucas’s father and the chief police inspector in the Australian state of New South Wales, explained that the pair – Ms. Deese was 24 and Lucas, 23 – came together through travel.

“Our son Lucas was having the time of his life travelling the world. He met a beautiful young lady. They teamed up. They were a great pair and they fell in love. We were overjoyed for Lucas,” a composed Stephen Fowler told a news conference at the RCMP’s B.C. headquarters in Surrey.

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Mr. Fowler remembered his son as a “fun-loving guy who had a goal to travel the world.” He saved up his money while working in Sydney, then set out on a travelling adventure and met Ms. Deese. “They became an inseparable pair,” Mr. Fowler said. "We now have two young people who had everything ahead of them tragically murdered.”

Ms. Deese’s family in North Carolina are “in shock and heartbroken,” according to a statement by her sister Kennedy.

In a Facebook post that featured a photo of Ms. Deese arms outstretched and “just radiating” in the midst of a field, Kennedy Deese wrote that this was one of her last documented moments.

“You had big beautiful life plans, and they were cut short. Instead of watching you enjoy your thriving life, I can only carry your legacy in mine, and encourage others to do the same."

She added, “I am having a bad day realizing I’ll never see a new picture of you!”

Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, are wanted in the killings.

Leonard Dyck

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Leonard Dyck, a married father of two sons, is seen in Victoria's Clover Point Park in March, 2017.courtesy of Patrick Martone

For days, the body was unidentified. Near the ruined truck of Mr. McLeod and Mr. Schmegelsky in the Dease Lake area, a driver found the remains of a man with grey hair and a beard.

On July 24, RCMP gave the body a name. It was 64-year-old Leonard Dyck of Vancouver.

The married father of two sons spent a career in botany, with a particular interest in seaweed. All of his studies were at the University of British Columbia, where he completed his PhD in botany in 2004, and began working around then as a sessional lecturer.

“He emulated and worked with many pre-eminent scholars in his field and helped the department carry their legacy into the future. His behind-the-scenes efforts in the department, his field collections and his work with students in the classroom make him truly irreplaceable,” Mr. Dyck’s friend and colleague Patrick Martone, an assistant professor, wrote in a statement released by the university.

The Manitoba RCMP has released surveillance footage of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky in a store in Meadow Lake, Sask. The two are suspects in the deaths of three people in northern British Columbia

The statement online includes a photo of Mr. Dyck at Clover Point, a beach area in Victoria. Mr. Dyck is holding up two strands of brown seaweed, each distinct in its look and texture. According to the caption, Mr. Dyck was showing off the difference between the two. Mr. Martone is credited with taking the photo.

“His passion for learning about bizarre and beautiful organisms that few people ever get to see, inspired our students to feel that same passion and awe," Mr. Martone wrote.

And yet, Mr. Martone also remembered a buoyant personality, including an exuberant laugh that he will miss.

“He held his cards close to his chest, but as soon as you realized how much passion he had for his work, he was so much fun and a joy to be around. It was obvious that he was doing what he loved,” he wrote.

Retired botany professor Robert DeWreede, a colleague of Mr. Dyck, reflected on the role that one of his friend’s passions may have played in his fate. (The RCMP is declining to comment on why Mr. Dyck was in the north.)

“Len’s love of outdoor work translated into a similar enthusiasm for camping, which most likely led him on this road trip which resulted in his death,” Mr. DeWreede wrote in a statement.

“Len had made previous car camping trips to B.C.’s north, some with his family and/or one of his sons, sometimes on his own.”

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