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April 02, 2022
Newlyweds, Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner, were last seen alive after leaving a bar in Moab, Utah, on August 13, 2021.
The couple, who had gotten married on April 20, 2021, had been living in their van, along with their pet rabbit, Ruth, and had been traveling around the Moab area and staying at various campsites. They lived their nomadic lifestyle without incident, until the night of August 13, after leaving Woody’s Tavern, a bar on Mainstreet. After returning to their campsite on La Sal Mountains, they came into contact with what they described in text messages to friends as a “creeper dude.”
The man was so unsettling that Schulte, 24, and Turner, 38, decided that they would move camp to get away from him.
That night at the bar, Kylen Schulte had told friends about the man, and made a chilling statement predicting her fate: “If anything happens to us, we were murdered by him,” she said.
All texts from the women’s phones to their friends and families stopped the following day on August 14. Their loved ones concern’s only grew as days passed without contact.
When Schulte failed to show up to her 5:30am shift at the Moonflower Community Cooperative, a business selling sustainable and ethically sourced food and goods, on August 15, her co-workers were quick to report her missing.
On August 17, Kylen Schulte’s father, Sean, who lives in Montana, made a phone call to one of her friends, Cindy Sue Hunter, who proceeded to search the La Sal campsite the following day.
While looking for other campers to aid her in the search, Hunter came across her missing friends van, a silver Kia, along the La Sal Loop road- but the women were not inside. She called Schulte’s father Sean to inform him that she had located the campsite and began to walk around the vicinity while staying on the line.
That’s when Hunter spotted something in the creek and on closer inspection, realised it was Kylen Schulte’s body.
“Sean, I found a body. I can’t see her face because of where she’s at and how she’s laying.”
Crystal Turner was discovered nearby.
The women had multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, back and sides and both were discovered naked from the waist down.
Initially, it was speculated that the double homicide may have been connected to the disappearance of Gabby Petito, however, this was later ruled out. The connection was made after an incident between Petito and Laundrie, who were also living the van life, happened nearby Moonflower Community Cooperative around the time Schulte and Turner went missing.
When police arrived at the scene of the murder, they found the women’s van and supplies, as well as a temporary rabbit hutch. Another vehicle parked nearby, a Ford Econoline, was searched by investigators. The vehicle had been abandoned but the only noteworthy item found inside was a bible.
An unnamed person of interest in the case (who was never arrested in connection with the murders) was officially ruled out as a suspect this month after investigators could not find anything to tie him to the crimes. The man had been pulled over for speeding and admitted that he had been sleeping around one hundred – three hundred yards from the campsite where the couple were murdered and could not account for his whereabouts on the night of the crime. The man’s strange behavior concerned the arresting officer, who described him as displaying signs of excitement that he had been caught for the offense, leading the officer to believe the man was displaying symptoms of mental illness and may need assistance.
The man also stated that he too was employed at the Moonflower Community Cooperative, where Kylen Schulte also worked.
Concerned that the man knew Schulte and had also been staying in the area where the victims were killed, the officer questioned him about his working relationship with Schulte and asked if they got along, to which the man responded that, it depended on his mood.
When asked why he had been sleeping just off the La Sal Loop road he said he liked the fact other people did not frequent it. He informed police that he had left some of his belongings at the site where he usually slept, including a blanket. When officers arrived at what they believed to be the man’s makeshift camp, they found two blankets, as well as a jacket. Worryingly the items appeared to have blood on them but were eventually determined to have no connection to the double homicide.
Officers asked the man outright if he had killed Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner, to which he said he had not, and did not show any tell-tale signs that he was lying to police.
Further investigation into the man revealed that he had become something of a nuisance to local businesses in the area and had been asked to leave by at least one business owner for pestering female customers. The man was known to the local area and was eventually dismissed as a suspect in the women’s murders.
Investigators are currently working alongside the FBI to review evidence.
May 23, 2023