The bodies of a woman from North Carolina and her Australian boyfriend were found earlier this week in British Columbia, Canada, officials said. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police identified them as Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler.
The U.S. State Department said Saturday they are "closely monitoring" the cause of death. CBS Charlotte affiliate WBTV reported they were found shot to death along a stretch of highway.
Deese's family said the couple were just days into an extended road trip through Canada.
New South Wales police posted on Facebook that Lucas Fowler was the son of Police Chief Inspector Stephen Fowler.
"We have lost our dear Lucas Fowler, son, brother, grandson and friend in the most terrible of circumstances. To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was traveling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating," the Facebook post read. "To know his beautiful girlfriend, Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina also lost her life in this violent event is too cruel. All our love and best wishes go to Chynna's family and friends."
Investigators believe Deese and Fowler were likely killed between 4 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday, and have asked witnesses who may have seen the couple's van to help "determine a timeline leading up to their deaths," WBTV reports.
Their bodies were found along the Alaska Highway, 12 miles south of Liard Hot Springs, a popular tourist attraction in British Columbia, a press release said. Fowler's minivan was parked nearby.
Deese's mother, Sheila, told WBTV she hadn't received many details about her daughter's death. She said she didn't learn her daughter had died until late Wednesday night. She said it was after 11 p.m. when she received a knock at the door from police officers.
"They directed me to the couch and said, 'you need to sit down' and I said, 'Is something wrong?' and he said, 'Yes, your daughter Chynna is deceased in Canada', and I said, 'No, no', and he said, 'Yes ma'am and we don't have any details, but here's a phone number to contact the Royal Canadian Police,'" Sheila told WBTV.
She said her daughter was a frequent traveler. "She loved sunflowers, volunteering, traveling, people, animals. She just loved on everybody," Sheila said.