Texas Man Wanted for Murder Eyed in Double Homicide in Canada

By Zachary Stieber

A number of tips have been received by investigators probing a double homicide, a third dead body, and the disappearance of two teens in a remote part of Canada about a Texas man who crossed into the country sometime in late June.

Derek Whisenand is wanted for murder in Texas, may be armed, and is dangerous, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on July 9. His mugshot appears similar to a sketch police circulated on Monday showing a person of interest in the murders of Australian Lucas Fowler and American Chynna Deese.

Police Sgt. Janelle Shoihet told Global News on Tuesday, July 23 that police “have received a number of tips in relation to Whisenand.”

“I have passed that information onto investigators but do not have a sense of whether or not they are looking in relation to the tragedies in northern B.C.,” she said.

Chynna Deese
Chynna Deese (L) and Lucas Fowler in a file photo. (NSW Police)
A map showing where Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese were found dead in relation to Liard Hot Springs. (RCMP)

Shoihet said that Whisenand is not necessarily a person of interest in the murders.

“I have sent it on to the investigative team,” she told 7 News. “I don’t have any indications at this point whether or not he is a person of interest.”

Deese, 24, and Fowler, 23, were found dead on July 15 near Liard Hot Springs in British Columbia. Authorities said both were shot dead.

Several witnesses saw them speaking with a man on the side of Alaska Highway, a remote road.

Alandra Hull, who works on roads in the area, said she saw the couple on the highway the night before they were found dead.

The pair was speaking to a man who “kind of looked frustrated,” she told Nine News, an Australian outlet. “If you just get a bad feeling, and that’s what I had, you just don’t stop,” she said. She said she’s spoken to the police and is providing details about the man.

According to KTXS, Whisenand is a suspect in the murder of Burton Sanborn, a 78-year-old found dead in his home last month.

An autopsy showed Sanborn suffered “severe trauma to the head.”

Whisenand, a North Dakota native, escaped into Canada, according to the Pembina County Sheriff’s Office. He was picked up by an unknown person who gave him a ride to Winnipeg.

He was described by Canadian authorities as a Caucasian with brown eyes and brown hair, standing 6’0″ and weighing around 230 pounds. He had a pentagram tattoo on his lower left wrist.

Derek Whisenand in a file photo. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

He was believed to be traveling with a large mixed-breed dog, possibly a mix of a German Shepard and pit bull or boxer, brindle in color.

Police said the double homicide may be linked to the disappearance of two teens whose vehicle was found on fire near Dease Lake in British Columbia. An unidentified man’s body was found nearby.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were driving a red and gray Dodge pickup truck with a sleeping camper and are now missing, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a July 21 statement. They haven’t been in contact with the family for several days.

“Kam and Bryer have periodically connected with family and friends over the past week and it is possible that they are now in [an] area without cell coverage,” a police spokesperson said in a statement.

teens vanish in canada
Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, (L), and Kam McLeod, 19, vanished in the same area a couple was murdered. Their truck was found on fire. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

“However, we have found their vehicle and have not been able to locate either of them at this time. We are asking for Kam or Bryer to connect with the police right away and let us know you are okay. Or we ask that anyone who may have spoken to or seen them over the last few days to call the police so we can get a better understanding as to where they might be or their plans.”

MacLeod was described as standing 6’4″, weighing 169 pounds, with dark brown hair and facial hair and brown eyes.

Schmegelsky was described as having a similar height and weight with sandy brown hair.

Anyone with information was asked to call Dease Lake RCMP 250-771-4111, Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or by leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net.