Investigators are considering the possibility that a Texas murder suspect who crossed into Canada several weeks ago could be linked to the murders of a couple found shot to death alongside a Canadian highway earlier this month.
Derek Whisenand, 27, who is reportedly wanted for the murder of an elderly Texas man, crossed into Canada illegally near Haskett, Manitoba sometime during the week of June 24 and is believed to be traveling through Canada, according to a statement from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Several weeks later, on July 15, investigators discovered the bodies of Chynna Deese, 24, and Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23, along a Canadian highway. The pair had been shot to death in what investigators believe was a double homicide.
Shortly before their bodies were discovered, a witness reported seeing a bearded man in a heated argument with the couple along the highway. The RCMP released a composite sketch of man seen with the pair Monday, describing the man as Caucasian male with a possible beard, darker skin and darker hair.
The description bears some similarity to Whisenand, who has been described as a Caucasian male, 6’ tall with brown eyes and brown hair. In some photos, he also appears to have a goatee or beard.
RCMP Sgt. Janelle Shoihet told Australia news outlet 7NEWS.com.au that “multiple sources” had notified the agency of a possible link between Whisenand and the murders.
“I have sent it on to the investigative team,” she said. “I don’t have any indications at this point whether or not he is a person of interest.”
Whisenand, who is originally from North Dakota, is wanted in the United States in connection to the murder of 78-year-old Burton Duane Sanborn, who was killed inside his Texas home on June 26, according to KTXS.
An initial autopsy report showed that Sanborn had “severe trauma to the head.”
Whisenand’s car was found by the Cavalier County Sheriff’s Department abandoned in North Dakota less than two miles from the Canadian border.
Authorities believe he is traveling with his dog, who is described as a large brindle-colored, mixed-breed dog.
“He may be armed and is considered DANGEROUS, and is NOT to be approached,” the statement from the RCMP said.
Investigators are also considering the possibility that the double homicide in Canada could be connected to another mysterious incident in British Columbia just four days after the bodies of Deese and Fowler were found.
RCMP declared two Canadian teens missing after their camper van was found on fire along Highway 37 Friday about 300 miles from where Deese and Fowler were discovered dead.
Authorities have been unable to locate the drivers of the vehicle, identified as 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky. The two teens had reportedly been looking for work in the Yukon Territory before they disappeared.
A dead body was found about a mile from the scene of the fire—but it was not either of the missing teens. Authorities are working now to identify the body, which is believed to be that of a heavy-built man in his 50s or 60s.
Authorities are not sure whether he has any connection to the missing teens.
As the investigations continue, police have asked the public to continue to be alert.
“With respect to the public safety, we share the concerns being raised given the tragic and unusual nature of the two investigations we have underway,” they said. “We would like to stress the important of heightened vigilance and awareness for anyone traveling in the area.”
Anyone with information about the murders, missing teens or fugitive on the run are encouraged to contact authorities.
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