‘It Has Affected Me Greatly.’ Mother Of Charlotte Woman Murdered In Canada Reacts To Gabby Petito Case
CHARLOTTE, NC. — It’s a message that will stay on a whiteboard, never to be erased: “You are so beautiful. I love you, mom.” They’re the last words Sheila Deese’s daughter hand-wrote to her.
Chynna Deese was with her boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, traveling through Canada to visit all the national parks when police found them dead. Shot and killed along a highway in July of 2019. Chynna graduated from Myers Park High School. She was a 24-year old who was generous and free-spirited. Fowler, originally from Australia, and Chynna’s soulmate, says Sheila Deese, Chynna’s mother.
“We had to grieve the loss of two people who plan to be married in 2020. Lucas was as amazing as Chynna. So we lost two family members,” says Sheila.
The couple’s murder prompted an international manhunt for the killers and a media frenzy. Sheila says to this day; she continues to be bombarded by uncomfortable questions after being in the international spotlight.
“For the longest time, each time I would go out around people I knew or didn’t know I was recognized, I felt so wounded. They would just say, I cannot even repeat the things they would ask.”
Today, Gabby Petito’s family is in a spotlight they never wanted as they plead for answers to what happened to their daughter. Both Gabby and Chynna were taken from this world while trying to explore every crevasse of it.
“That family has to be in complete shock, and you just don’t know what to do when you’re grasping at anything.”
Like how the words on the board will never be erased, neither will Sheila’s grief.
“Grief never ends. Life grows around the grief is what I’ve learned. The grief stays there, but life grows around it.”