Authorities in Utah have issued a rare public appeal for potential witnesses to come forward in the August murder of a married couple who complained of encountering a “creep” shortly before they were found shot to death at a campsite near Moab.
“We are asking that anyone that would have been in the South Mesa area between the dates of August 13th, August 14th, and 15th contact our office with anything they may have seen or heard,” the Grand County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement late Tuesday, providing the latest update on the investigation into the killing of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner (also known as Crystal Beck).
The newlyweds were reported missing on Aug. 16, only to be found two days later murdered in a creek near their campsite in the South Mesa area of the La Sal Mountains.
They were last seen having fun with friends in a tavern in Moab, and they may have unwittingly provided the strongest tip into their own murders by revealing that “a creep” was staying next to their campsite. The unidentified person had reportedly left them so unnerved they considered moving their campsite to another spot.
Six weeks into the investigation, however, police are tight-lipped about any leads. In Tuesday’s statement, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office said only that it was continuing to follow up on tips received from the public, and that “the response has benefited this office in the investigation.”
At the same time, however, the sheriff’s office warned that forensic analysis on “items of interest in this case” could take “several months or more to complete.”
Schulte’s father, Sean-Paul Schulte, has kept up his own investigative efforts separately from the police. The Salt Lake Tribune reports he set up a “clue booth” in a Moab park this month where members of the public could stop by and provide any information to the case that they think is relevant.
“All I did was just provide a venue for local folks to come down and tell me clues,” he told local news station KSTU.
“Over two weeks, I probably got 30 or 35 clues, and you know, maybe only four or five of them were not really good clues,” he said, noting that he passes all the tips he receives on to the sheriff’s office.
One recent tip reportedly involved a wedding that took place the night before the couple disappeared, just a half a mile from where they were later found slain.
Schulte is said to have obtained the guest list from the event, which contains the names of more than 100 guests, but the family says authorities have so far not responded to his offer to hand over the list. Police have not commented on whether the guest list was in their possession.
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office has also been quick to shut down speculation that the murders of Schulte and Beck were somehow connected to the case of Gabby Petito, a fellow camper who had been in town with her fiancé Brian Laundrie shortly before she vanished. Petito was subsequently found dead in a Wyoming national park on Sept. 19, setting off a large-scale search for Laundrie, who remains in the wind.
Much of the attention on that case has focused on Moab, where police bodycam footage and witness accounts of a domestic dispute between the pair appeared to show signs of impending doom weeks before Petito fell victim to homicide. One of the couple’s arguments also reportedly took place outside the same grocery co-op where Crystal Turner had worked.
But even Schulte’s father conceded that so far, any links between the two cases appear to be quite flimsy.
“I mean, we need real clues that can identify a suspect, not, you know, Gabby and Brian were close to us,” he was quoted telling KSTU.