Along a rural stretch of the Alaska Highway, just south of Liard Hot Springs, a large memorial has been erected to ensure that the shortened lives of a young tourist couple are never forgotten.
It’s been nearly three months since Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler were found murdered near the highway, in what quickly became one of the most high-profile police investigations in Canada’s recent history.
Their killers, Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod of Port Alberni, went on to claim the life of another victim – Leonard Dyck of Vancouver – before fleeing to Manitoba and dying by suicide, all within a three-week span.
The senseless acts sparked international attention, in part due to the randomness in the killings but also because the victim’s families were from far and wide; Deese was originally from North Carolina and Fowler from Australia.
But for many truck drivers who drive these roads regularly, the incomprehensible killings couldn’t help but strike close to home.
In August, Whitehorse trucker Ed Grennan began the memorial for the young couple, made up of a flower cross, a small U.S. flag and a larger Australian flag perched between two piles of rocks. Since then, the spot has grown to include dozens more flowers, a larger U.S. flag and a poster with pictures of Deese and Fowler with the words “Together Forever.”
Earlier this week, Grennan was spotted there again, along with fellow truck driver John Van Vyfeyken, hoisting up a small shelter to protect the memorial from wintry conditions as well as two handmade wooden crosses that will surely withstand the elements.
“The memorial is a place to keep the memory of this couple alive and to help all those impacted by this tragic event find some solice [sic] and peace knowing that we are all keeping the lost and thier [sic] families in our thoughts and prayers,” Van Vyfeyken wrote on Facebook.
On Wednesday, passerby Craig Humphries captured the two men finalizing the two crosses in a video.
“These families are so far away, I couldn’t tell how much they appreciate us doing this,” Grennan said, adding that he hopes fellow truckers who stop by the memorial can help maintain the site.