MOAB, Utah (KTSU) — The family of two Moab women found dead near their campsite in the La Sal Mountains on August 18, 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 Kylen Schulte and Crystal 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 that 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 Kylen and Crystal talked about a man creeping them out near their campsite the week before. They last met up with friends on Aug. 14, 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 percent is a murderer on the loose,” Calvert said.
A murderer who took two lives away, but the family said will never put out the light and love of Kylen and Crystal.
“We’re going to let their love-light shine,” Calvert said. “They had the most beautiful love, and that light is not stopping.”
This story was originally published August 20, 2021, by KTSU in Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.