At a news conference on Tuesday, Capt. Shan Hackwell of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office told reporters the investigation is ongoing. As of now, no suspect has been identified.
The sheriff’s office has said little more about the killings. One of the few public statements about the case — an Aug. 19 news release that said “there is no current danger to the public in the Grand County area” — has only raised more questions, leaving the mountain community near the Utah-Colorado border on edge.
“It’s hard to understand how they can say there’s no threat and also acknowledge that it’s a double homicide,” Schulte’s aunt, Bridget Calvert, told The Washington Post. “At the same time, I respect the ask for protecting the investigation if there’s information they have that can’t be released.”
Hackwell acknowledged on Tuesday the frustration some have expressed with the seeming lack of transparency. Local law enforcement is working with the FBI and the Utah State Bureau of Investigation.
“The Grand County Sheriff’s Department is committed to providing information and updates and being transparent during this process but not compromising the integrity of the case investigation,” Hackwell said at the news conference.
But across the state line in Colorado, the San Miguel County sheriff warned campers to be on high alert after authorities found a cache of more than 30 weapons at a man’s campsite near Telluride, about 2½ hours from Moab. The warning came four days after Utah officials said there was no threat to the public in regard to the unsolved killings.
“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 William Masters said in a Facebook post.
Authorities have given no indication that the suspect in that case has anything to do with the killings in Utah.
Schulte and Turner had been together for about two years, Calvert said, and married in April in a treehouse in Arkansas, where Turner is from. Calvert met Turner at a 2019 family reunion in Seattle.
“They were like a single unit, running around the reunion totally in love with each other,” Calvert recalls. “Kylen always had this kindness and sweetness and love. … With Crystal, she had someone she could enjoy that with.”
The two women were last seen in public on the night of Aug. 13, when they met up with friends for drinks at a local bar called Woody’s Tavern. There, they apparently complained about a man who was causing problems at their campsite and told friends they planned to move locations.
“They thought there was a weirdo, creepy guy,” Calvert told The Post.
The next Monday, Turner did not show up for work at McDonald’s. Officers searched a camping area at nearby Warner Lake but did not find Turner or Schulte, according to Hackwell.
Meanwhile, amateur search crews mobilized on the ground in Moab. Calvert said she began posting on social media, asking for help locating the missing women. A family acquaintance reached out and offered to start looking.
On Aug. 18, the family acquaintance came upon the women’s vehicle at a campsite and then found Schulte’s body, according to Calvert. The family acquaintance called Schulte’s father and then the police, who arrived and confirmed that Schulte and Turner were found dead in the mountains.
Calvert received the news in a family group text.
“That’s when all emotions changed, from hoping they’d be found in an accident and just needed help or were out of [cell] service range,” she said. “By no means was that what we’d expected.”
Hackwell did not return a phone message from The Post on Wednesday afternoon. But he told KSTU that investigators do not believe the killer is a danger to the community at large.
“The evidence that we’ve gathered at this time, that’s what it’s led us to believe was an isolated incident,” Hackwell told the TV station.
The families of Schulte and Turner are raising money for funeral costs on GoFundMe. According to Calvert, Turner will be cremated and some of her ashes will be laid to rest with Schulte, who will be buried in her native Montana next to her younger brother, who died in a 2015 shooting.