A suspect wanted for the murder of an elderly Texas man crossed into Canada only weeks before a young couple was found murdered there — and a police official said that “multiple sources” have spoken of a potential link, according to a new report.
Derek Whisenand, 27, crossed into Canada sometime during the week of June 24, 7 News Australia reported.
About three weeks later, Chynna Deese, 24, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and her beau, Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23, of Sydney, Australia, were shot dead on the side of a remote highway in British Columbia, 12 miles south of Lilard Hot Springs, a popular tourist destination.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on Monday released a composite sketch of a bearded man with fair skin and dark hair. He was not immediately considered a suspect, but rather someone who had spoken to the pair hours before their deaths.
The mystery man was spotted having a “heated exchange” with the young couple the night before their bodies were discovered.
A mugshot of Whisenand, released by the RCMP’s Manitoba force last week, also shows him with fair skin, dark hair and a goatee.
After receiving tips about a possible link, RCMP Sgt. Julie Shoihet “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,” Shoihet said.
Whisenand is wanted in the death of Burton Duane Sanborn, 78, in Eastland County, Texas, on June 26, Texas ABC affiliate KTXS 12 reported. Preliminary autopsy results reveal Sanborn suffered “severe trauma to the head,” and the incident is being investigated as a murder.
Whisenand also has a pentagram tattoo on his lower left wrist, and was said to be traveling with a large mixed-breed, brindle-colored dog, possibly a German shepherd and pit bull or boxer, according to authorities.
He reportedly entered Canada near Haskett, Manitoba, before traveling to Winnipeg and possibly the eastern part of the country, police said.
At the time, authorities said he was “armed and is considered DANGEROUS, and is NOT to be approached.”
On Friday, four days after the bodies of the tourist couple were discovered, police launched a search for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18.
The missing teens were believed to have been driving a vehicle that was found in flames about 310 miles from where the couple was murdered.
Just over a mile from the burning car, police found a man’s dead body. The man hasn’t been identified yet, but cops on Monday released a composite sketch of him in hopes of figuring out who he is.
Shoihet said Monday it was “unusual” to have two major investigations “of this nature” happening at the same time in northern British Columbia.
“We recognize the possibility that these could be linked,” she said during a press conference.
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