Australian tourist Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese were smiling and relaxed as they sat on armchairs next to their broken-down Chevrolet van on the side of a remote Canadian highway.
It was about 3.20pm on Sunday and Mr Fowler, 23, from Sydney, and Ms Deese, 24, from North Carolina, were enjoying life despite being stranded.
Hours later they would be dead, their bodies lying near their conked out blue 1986 van.
The couple that was so full of life - and with an insatiable desire to travel the world - had been shot dead.
Ms Deese's family was told her injuries were so severe they would not be able to have an open casket at her funeral.
The hunt is on for their killer or killers.
"It is not yet clear whether Lucas and Chynna were targeted or if this was a crime of opportunity," Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Janelle Shoihet told reporters on Friday.
Mr Fowler is the son of one of NSW's most senior police officers, Stephen Fowler, the chief inspector of Sydney's northwest Hills district.
The Fowlers are making the long, heartbreaking journey from Sydney to the far northern region of the Canadian province of British Columbia "to be with our boy and to bring him home".
Two NSW homicide detectives will also travel to Canada to help in a liaison-type role.
It was a Good Samaritan Canadian couple, Curtis and Sandra Broughton, who were among the last to see Mr Fowler and Ms Deese alive.
The Broughtons were heading home along Alaska Highway after visiting Liard Hot Springs on Sunday at 3.20pm when they saw the Chevrolet van on the side of the road.
Mr Broughton is a mechanic and presumed the young couple relaxing on fold-out chairs needed help.
"Obviously their van had broken down, but they were still happy and smiling," Mr Broughton told AAP on Friday.
"They were having lunch or a bit of a meal when we pulled up."
Mr Broughton soon realised the Australian lad had it all under control.
"He seemed like he had everything diagnosed properly," Mr Broughton said.
"The vehicle was flooded out and they were going to try and get it going again until they could get the parts they needed."
The Broughtons got back in their car and drove home.
Mr Broughton said he did not notice anyone suspicious in the area but, days later, was horrified to learn from social media the couple they stopped to help had been murdered.
RCMP investigators want to speak with anyone who may have been travelling near Liard Hot Springs, including staying at camping areas, and on the Alaska Highway 97 between 4pm Sunday and 8am Monday.
Mr Fowler and Ms Deese met at a hostel in Croatia two years ago, fell in love and on their latest globetrotting adventure were travelling across Canada.
The Deeses fear the killer may strike again.
"I don't think it's a serial killer," Ms Deese's father, Dwayne, told the Charlotte Observer.
"I think of someone who has been convicted of violent crimes before, someone on drugs.
"That fits the profile better.
"What worries us is that person is still on the loose and they have a head start.
"This is going to happen again.
"There needs to be some kind of a warning system in place for tourists."
Australian Associated Press