'We always love you': Funeral held in Australia for B.C. murder victim Lucas Fowler
'Lucas leaves us all with so many beautiful memories,' says Fowler's father
Lucas Fowler turned dreams of travel into reality and lived a life "many of us envied," his father said at his funeral service in Sydney, Australia, on Friday.
In his eulogy, Stephen Fowler said his 23-year-old son learned to love camping from a young age and was excited to embark on his latest adventure in B.C. with Chynna Deese, "the love of his life."
Fowler and Deese, 24, from Charlotte, N.C., were found dead in northern B.C. two weeks ago. Their deaths were soon deemed homicides and triggered a cross-country hunt for two suspects who, despite numerous reported sightings, have not yet been found.
"We are so happy that Lucas and Chynna found each other and had such a great time travelling together, meeting new friends and just milking every last drop of fun out of life. They laughed and loved, and touched the hearts of everyone they met," Fowler said during the service at Turramurra Uniting Church.
Watch an excerpt from Stephen Fowler's eulogy for his son:
A memorial service was held earlier this week for Deese in North Carolina.
Hundreds of friends and family gathered at the funeral Friday, embracing each other outside the brick building.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Fowler's father, a chief inspector for the New South Wales Police Force, described in his eulogy how his son's outdoorsy upbringing followed him into adulthood.
One of four children, Fowler and his family took their camper trailer to the same camp ground every year for 20 years. It's where Fowler learned to ride a bike and swam in the river pool. He played soccer and went four-wheeling and dirt biking with friends.
Fowler took an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic in high school before going backpacking with a friend. He met Deese in Croatia. He continued his travels to Canada, where he secured a work visa and took a job on a B.C. ranch.
It was at that ranch that he had his first taste of the cold Canadian winter, his father said in his eulogy.
"His message was: 'This is what happens when you are out checking fences on a snowmobile in minus 36 C,'" Fowler said, describing a photo he received from his son, beard white with frost.
"I wrote back: 'Easy way to get a haircut – just snap it off'. He wrote: 'It's brutal here. Never been so cold with so many layers of good clothes.'"
Deese joined her boyfriend at that ranch a week before they left on their road trip. Fowler said his family never had the chance to meet Deese but they considered her part of their family.
"Lucas leaves us all with so many beautiful memories. He and Chynna live on in our hearts," Fowler said.
"Lucas, thank you for being part of our lives. We always love you."
With files from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation