MOAB, Utah — The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Utah’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) have joined the investigation into the killing of two newlywed women.
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office has called in the FBI and SBI to assist in the double murder investigation of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner who were found dead near their campsite in the South Mesa area of the La Sal Loop Road in Grand County last Wednesday.
This is one of the largest investigations the sheriff’s office has ever taken on. “Just know that everything is being done that we can possibly do, that is why we have asked for the additional resources. We want to make sure we do it thorough. We do it complete and we do it right,” said Sheriff Steven White.
Deputies are working extra hours and extra shifts to assist in the investigation and provide extra safety to the community, Sheriff White said. “We have extra patrols that are working pretty much the whole county and we are putting special emphasis on the mountain and around those areas. We are trying to work them as much as we can, especially when we are eight guys down,” said Sheriff White.
Brittany Garcia, a close friend of Schulte and Turner, says it’s devastating not knowing what happened to the couple.
“It is hard knowing we can’t figure anything out and we can’t find these people who did this to them,” Garcia said.
Another friend of the couple, Laura Lee Green, says one of her biggest concerns is if there is enough transparency from law enforcement.
“There is a lot of curiosity in the town as far as if law enforcement is doing anything they can and if they did everything they could in the very beginning,” Green said.
Sheriff White said officers are doing everything they can, but they can’t share many details to protect the integrity of the case.
“Right now, we are not taking anything off the table. We are investigating this at every possible avenue for every possible thing,” he said.
Green also worried if deputies searched for the newlyweds when the two women were originally reported missing. Deputies did look that day, Sheriff White said.
“When the original complaint came in from, it was actually done as a missing person out of the Moab police department. There were actually deputies that went into the mountain areas, there was actually a Colorado sheriff that looked at one of the lakes on the backside of the mountain for us,” he said.
The community is shaken up and this double murder has taken a toll on everyone, including Sheriff White.
“This is totally devastating. This is my home. This is where I was born and raised. I take it not only on a professional level but on a personal level that I want to get to the bottom of this,” he said.
Anyone with information that may be helpful to the investigation should contact the Grand County Sheriff's Office at 435-259-8115.
Family calling for answers
The loved ones of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner are hoping the public can help them get answers as the Grand County Sheriff's Office searches for a suspect in the couple's deaths.
Friends are reporting disturbing details that offer the only clues as to what may have happened before Schulte and Turner went missing.
The newlyweds married just four months ago and were well-loved by the Moab community. Schulte's aunt, Bridget Calvert, said that Schulte had worked at Moonflower Community Cooperative the past four years and many who shopped there knew her.
She described her niece as always positive and known around town for her bright smile.
"Her having such a beautiful soul, to see it complimented with someone like Crystal, that they could really enjoy life and do it together," Calvert said.
The two turned a van into a camper, sharing photos on Instagram with #vanlife and #wifelife. They called the outdoors around Moab home.
When 24-year-old Schulte and 38-year-old Turner were no-call, no-shows at work two days in a row, friends and family knew something wasn't right.
All the couple's family live out-of-state - Schulte is from Montana and Turner from Arkansas.
They had to rely on others to try to figure out where the two were. Calvert said that police searched some campgrounds in the area, but they knew the couple enjoyed camping in more primitive places.
A family acquaintance in Moab took it upon herself to launch her own search, and Calvert described how the woman loaded up her car with supplies and headed out into the La Sal Mountains.
That friend came upon a horrifying discovery in the South Mesa area Wednesday. "She was on the phone with my brother when she pulled up to the car," Calvert said, talking about the couple's Kia.
She said the friend looked at the site and saw a body. She stayed in her car and immediately called the Grand County Sheriff's Office. Deputies came out and found a second body.
Calvert described how her brother, Schulte's dad, delivered the news to the family.
"Then he sent a text and said, 'It's Kylen and Crystal, and they're with Mac now,' my nephew," Calvert said, getting choked up.
Mackeon Schulte, Kylen's brother, was killed six years ago at the age of 15. The family said he was shot by a friend.
Grand County Sheriff's Office Capt. Shan Hackwell explained that they are investigating the deaths as homicides. They don't have a suspect in custody, and he said they haven't identified a suspect yet.
That said, the sheriff's office has indicated it doesn't believe the public is in danger.
"The evidence that we've gathered at this time, that's what it's led us to believe was an isolated incident," Capt. Hackwell said.
They can't release any other details because of the ongoing investigation.
Calvert said that friends told the family Schulte and Turner talked about a man creeping them out near their campsite last week. They last met up with friends on the Saturday before they were found, and Calvert said they again brought up the creepy man.
"They said they were going to go move, they were going to go pack up and move their campsite, that he was still creeping them out," she said.
Calvert and the rest of the family are now hoping someone can help them find the person or people responsible. Capt. Hackwell made the same request. He said anyone who may have seen something suspicious while driving or recreating in the South Mesa area of the La Sal Mountains between August 13 to present should call them at 435-259-8115.
"What is very uncomforting is that there 100% is a murderer on the loose," Calvert said.
It's a murderer who took two lives away, but the family said will never put out the light and love of Schulte and Turner.
"We're going to let their love-light shine," Calvert said. "They had the most beautiful love, and that light is not stopping."
A GoFundMe account has been created to help the family of Kylen; it reads, in part:
This fund is specifically to raise money for Kylen’s dad, Sean-Paul Schulte, to be able to travel and get Kylen to Billings, MT for a proper burial with her family. Funds are needed for travel from Montana to Utah to coordinate transporting Kylen to Montana as well as the transportation of Kylen and then travel back to Montana to lay Kylen to rest with her brother. Any additional funds will support hotel costs, food, and loss of wages during this time.
This story was originally published by Sydney Glenn, Lauren Steinbrecher, and other staff at KSTU.