Surveillance video obtained by The Daily Beast shows a slain Utah couple at a local tavern the night before they disappeared, laughing and chatting with friends to whom they complained about a “weirdo” camping near them in the wilderness.
“We were just having a great time, having a couple drinks, and all they said was there was a creep [staying] next to them,” said Kayla Borza, who was one of the last people to see Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Beck, 38, alive. “And that was it.”
Neither of them shared further details about the strange man, Borza told The Daily Beast, adding, “I don’t know why the creep wanted to kill them.”
The couple, who got married in April, were semi-regular customers at Woody’s Tavern in Moab, said bar manager Arielle Beck. They weren’t big drinkers, said Beck, who is not related to Crystal Beck, explaining that they came in “maybe once or twice a month.”
They showed up at the bar around 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13, and left around 9 p.m., Beck told The Daily Beast, adding that she didn’t see anyone but Borza and her friend speak to Schulte and Beck that night, and that “nobody followed them out the door.” Although police and local media have said Schulte and Beck were last seen at Woody’s on Saturday, Aug. 14, Arielle Beck—who worked both nights—said they were only there that Friday.
Four days after they were reported missing, Schulte and Beck’s remains turned up in the La Sal Mountains, the second-highest range in Utah. The two, who frequently camped out in the Utah mountains, had been shot to death, according to authorities. The grisly discovery was made not by cops but by a family friend who felt compelled to mount her own search for the pair after becoming frustrated by what she considered a lack of progress by police. The murders shocked Moab, a city of 5,200 residents, and are especially unbearable for Schulte’s parents, who lost their 15-year-old son to gun violence in 2015, said Cindy Sue Hunter, who came upon the bodies last Wednesday.
Hunter, 64, has been “crumbling” emotionally since then, but is speaking to the media because, she told The Daily Beast, “I desperately want this person, or persons, caught.”
Hunter said she first met Schulte and her father, Sean-Paul, an artist, when she opened an art supply store in Moab in November 2016. His was some of the first art she put on display for consignment, which was a way to “try and help a starving artist out,” Hunter recalled.
“We instantly connected, there was just something there,” said Hunter. “And so anytime we saw each other on the streets, or at the store, there was just joy in seeing each other. We just loved each other.”
When Schulte and Beck vanished, Sean-Paul Schulte, who now lives in Billings, Montana, “was begging” Moab authorities to help him find his daughter and her wife, according to Hunter. Many locals considered the two to be “badasses” who knew how to defend themselves, and weren’t overly concerned, said Hunter. But Sean-Paul, who was unable to be reached for this article, thought police searchers may have missed something and asked his circle of friends if they could help look.
By Tuesday night, cops hadn’t provided any updates, said Hunter, who “had been hearing in my head and arguing with myself all day that I needed to go.”
Hunter called Sean-Paul and told him she was setting off on a search first thing in the morning. She stopped first at a nearby McDonald’s, where Schulte and Beck always parked their van, and took a look inside.
“I just wanted to feel their energy and get a sense of where they were,” said Hunter.
After driving around for several hours, Hunter—who expected to find the women had had an accident of some sort—decided to pull over. Although her phone doesn’t normally get a signal in the mountains there, she said she was somehow able to connect that day. Hunter pulled over and her phone rang: It was Sean-Paul, who filled her in on the latest—Schulte and Beck had mentioned “a creeper dude, and that they were going to have to move to a different camp,” said Hunter.
“At this point, I am talking out loud to the girls, begging them to give me a sign,” she continued. “My three dogs were looking at me like I was crazy.”
Hunter brought along photos of Schulte and Beck, which she showed to everyone who passed. She kept driving, and a few turns later, felt a sensation she couldn’t explain.
“When I went to turn on Lake Warner, I don’t want to say I had voices in my head, but I was told to ‘Go straight and hurry,’” said Hunter. “It just kept repeating. I’m going toward Sand Flats Road, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of silver through the trees and I saw a campsite down a tricky little side road. Very easy to miss. And that’s when I found their car.”
At first, Hunter wasn’t sure what she was looking at. She knew the pair drove a silver Kia, but didn’t know which model. But when she saw their pet bunny rabbit in its cage underneath a nearby tree, she knew it was them. But no one was inside. A tent had been pitched a few feet away, but there wasn’t anyone in there, either. Hunter called the police, who kept her on the phone until they pinned her location. She then called Sean-Paul, who asked if Hunter saw any sign of the girls. So Hunter decided to take a look by a pile of dirt next to the car.
“And that’s when I found Kylen’s body,” she said, weeping. “At that point, Sean was screaming at me to run back to my car. It’s silly to think the killer would still be there four days later, but we didn’t know. I ran back to my car and locked the doors and called the police and said that I had found one of the bodies. It felt like hours before they got there, the wait time was pretty hard. And when they got there, they found Crystal’s body.”
The Schulte family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral expenses and to have her body shipped to Montana, where she can be buried next to her brother.
“My heart is just ripped to shreds for what [the family] must be going through,” said Hunter. “I can’t fathom. They are hurting in ways we can’t even comprehend.”
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office has not revealed if it has any suspects, or if it has determined a motive behind the double murder. However, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release issued last week that it “believes there is no current danger to the public in the Grand County area.” Grand County Sheriff Steven White did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.