Newlyweds Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Turner, 38, loved camping and the outdoors. They lived in a conversion van and routinely set up camp around Moab, Utah. If the weather was nice, they would set up a tent and camp outdoors. Kylen worked at Moonflower Co-op and Crystal worked at a McDonald’s in the area.
They were together for about two years before tying the knot in April 2021. By all accounts, they were a happy couple and considered ‘badasses’ in the area that could defend themselves. So when Crystal failed to show up to work on August 16th, her coworkers began to worry and reported the women missing.
The last sighting of the women was on the night of August 13th, when they met up with friends at a local bar, Woody’s Tavern. While at the bar, they mentioned a ‘creepy man’ that was bothering their campsite and that they were considering moving campsites. Kylen also mentioned that ‘if something happened to them, they were murdered’. The two left the bar around 9pm and that’s the last time they would be seen alive.
Missing persons flyers were made and friends and family started searching for Kylen and Crystal on their own as they felt police were not doing enough.
On August 18th, Cindy Sue Hunter, a friend of Kylen’s father, Sean-Paul, set out on her own to search. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Cindy described her search that led to a grizzly discovery.
After driving around for several hours, Cindy decided to pull over. Although her phone doesn’t normally get a signal in the mountains there, she said she was somehow able to connect that day.
Cindy pulled over and her phone rang: It was Sean-Paul, who filled her in on the latest—Schulte and Beck had mentioned “a creeper dude, and that they were going to have to move to a different camp,” said Hunter.
“At this point, I am talking out loud to the girls, begging them to give me a sign,” she continued. “My three dogs were looking at me like I was crazy.”
She brought along photos of Schulte and Beck, which she showed to everyone who passed. She kept driving, and a few turns later, felt a sensation she couldn’t explain.
“When I went to turn on Lake Warner, I don’t want to say I had voices in my head, but I was told to ‘Go straight and hurry,’” said Hunter. “It just kept repeating. I’m going toward Sand Flats Road, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of silver through the trees and I saw a campsite down a tricky little side road. Very easy to miss. And that’s when I found their car.”
At first, Hunter wasn’t sure what she was looking at. She knew the pair drove a silver Kia, but didn’t know which model. But when she saw their pet bunny rabbit in its cage underneath a nearby tree, she knew it was them. But no one was inside. A tent had been pitched a few feet away, but there wasn’t anyone in there, either. Hunter called the police, who kept her on the phone until they pinned her location. She then called Sean-Paul, who asked if Hunter saw any sign of the girls. So Hunter decided to take a look by a pile of dirt next to the car.
“And that’s when I found Kylen’s body,” she said, weeping. “At that point, Sean was screaming at me to run back to my car. It’s silly to think the killer would still be there four days later, but we didn’t know. I ran back to my car and locked the doors and called the police and said that I had found one of the bodies. It felt like hours before they got there, the wait time was pretty hard. And when they got there, they found Crystal’s body.”
They women had been shot to death and were partially undressed. Investigators found gunshot wounds on the backs, sides and chests of the victims.
Police recovered a black journal with newspaper clippings, a Bible, miscellaneous mail and paystubs for the victims inside the van. They also filed search warrants to search both of the cars registered to the women.
On August 19th, police released a statement where they stated they were following up on any and all leads and they did not believe there was a current danger to the public in the Grand County area.
The sheriff’s office has remained pretty tight lipped about the murders, only saying there is no suspect as of now and they are committed to providing information and updates and being transparent during this process but not compromising the integrity of the case investigation.
4 days after the discovery of the bodies and 2½ hours away in San Miguel, Colorado, the sheriff put out a warning on Facebook that read –
“Sheriff Masters wants the citizens and visitors to our county to know of an armed man who has been illegally camping in the Telluride area. The individual has been arrested three times in the Norwood and Telluride areas since July 1st for charges including weapons offenses, burglary of a local laundromat, possession of meth, trespassing, and theft. The judge has repeatedly released this man from jail on PR bonds over the objections of the District Attorney’s office. Today (Monday 8/23) more than three dozen weapons were found around his campsite in the Mill Creek area of Telluride including knives, hatchets, and a cross-bow and several swords, just yards off a popular hiking trail. The campsite had been illegally constructed on private property. “In light of the past week’s double homicide of campers outside Moab, l want to caution people to be aware of their surroundings,” Sheriff Masters said.”
There is no evidence that the suspect in the San Miguel case is connected to the murders of Kylen and Crystal but some believe it could be.
Another interesting theory has recently come to light, Gabby Petito, a young woman who went missing in Wyoming shortly after the murders and has garnered a lot of media coverage, was seen in a heated argument with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, the day before the women were killed. The argument took place at Kylen’s workplace, Moonflower Co-op. This of course has led to some speculate that the cases are possibly related. While there is no evidence the two are related, police said they are not ruling anything out.
In a statement released September 16th, the Grand County sherrif said they are actively looking into any connection between the two cases –
“The Grand County Sheriff’s Office has been in contact with Florida authorities and we are actively looking into any connection between the Gabby Petito missing person case and the double homicide that occurred in Grand County,” the sheriff said.
“The Sheriff’s Office is not ruling anything out at this time and appreciate the concerns of the public and their willingness to contact this office with those concerns and information.”
September 17th, police put out a statement that says the two cases are NOT related.
Grand County Sheriff Steven White also said investigators think an “outside party” shot the women then fled the area.
As of now, there is still no suspect in the murders and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office is collaborating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Utah State Bureau of Investigations on the case.
Anyone with information on this active investigation is urged to call the Grand County Sheriff’s Office at 435-259-8115.
Who do you think killed Kylen and Crystal? Do you think it could be related to the camping man in Colorado? Somehow related to Gabby Petito’s disappearance? Check out our discussion and let us know your thoughts on the case.