Newlyweds Crystal Turner and Kylan Schulte were shot and killed at a camp near Moab, Utah
Moab, Utah – A horrific double murder that rocked Utah’s beautiful Moab community in mid-August remains unsolved a month later, leaving residents concerned for their safety and also worried about the case of another missing person – Gabby Petito’s – can see it.
Police said last month that Crystal Turner, 38, and Kylan Schulte, 24, were found dead with multiple gunshot wounds in the South Mesa area of La Sal Loop Road on August 18. He was last seen alive on August 13 at Woody Tavern in downtown Moab.
Cindy Sue Hunter, a friend of the victims, told Granthshala News that the day they met, she went out to search for them at around 11 p.m.
He then stumbles upon a crime scene in the South Mesa area of La Sal Loop Road, southeast of the city.
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He saw Schulte partially in a creek with multiple gunshot wounds.
“Her arms and legs were at an odd angle, and I went into shock at that moment,” Hunter said.
Fearing the killer or the killers might still pass, Hunter said he called the police and did not search for Turner any more.
“I felt Krystal was further south and had been brutalized than Kylan; it’s just a feeling I have,” she said.
The couple had earlier told friends that a suspect was crawling them near their campsite and they wanted to move on.
“We don’t think he’s got a chance,” Hunter said. “We think they were attacked.”
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office has released some additional details in the case, citing an ongoing investigation.
The horrific crime has shocked Moab residents, who number just over 5,200, according to US Census data. Officials have yet to publicly identify any suspects.
“It happens every day in other cities, but Moab is small,” said Erin Bird, co-owner of the Moab Garage Company coffee shop on Main Street where Schulte worked at the Moonflower Cooperative grocery store.
“We are a really small community – 5,000 people in a city and lost two people,” she said.
The sheriff’s office said local businesses and anonymous donors are offering a $20,000 reward for information that could settle the case. Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at (435) 259-8115.
According to locals, the area receives many visitors, but there is some crime. Rental cars and hotel rooms were hard to find this week, and cross-country travelers and vans, RVs and other vehicles seem to be everywhere.
Bird said she often crossed paths with Schulte at Moonflower when her coffee shop ran out of various ingredients. For a long time the cashier knew she would be in a hurry and would take care of her quickly, Bird said.
“She was a very kind presence, a gentle presence,” Bird said. “She was really approachable and sweet.”
Across the street, at the Trailhead Public House, activists said that both Schulte and Turner were wonderful people. They had planned to hire Turner, and the couple would have jobs next to each other.
On August 12, a day before the couple went missing, an incident involving another unsolved case occurred just outside Moonflower, where Schulte was working until 3 p.m.
A witness called police to report a domestic incident between Gabby Petito, who has since been missing, and her fiancé, Brian Laundry, at around 4:30 p.m. that day.
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Police found them speeding down a mountain road north of the city about 15 minutes later, pulled them over and eventually decided not to charge.
Responding officers set up the laundry with a hotel room through a non-profit group and leave Petito with the van.
Petito last contacted his mother on August 25. Police said Laundry went back to Florida in her van and arrived without Petito on September 1. Petito’s mother reported her missing 10 days later, when she could not reach her daughter, and Laundry and her parents reportedly failed to answer her calls.
Laundry has not cooperated with investigators in the missing persons case, and Grand County, Utah, officials are “actively” looking into whether the two cases are linked, Sheriff Steven White said Thursday.
In many states the FBI and police departments are also involved in cases.
Granthshala News’ Christina Corbyn contributed to this report.