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Authorities say there are “persons of interest” in the shooting deaths last summer of a married couple found dead near their Utah campsite.
The bodies of newlyweds Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Turner, 38, were discovered in the South Mesa area of the La Sal Mountains on Aug. 18, 2021, as previously reported. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office investigated the possibility that the double murder was related to the high-profile disappearance of Gabby Petito after it was discovered that Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, had an altercation near the Moonflower Community Cooperative around the time of the Schulte-Turner murders.
Schulte was an employee at the Moonflower Community Cooperative, a natural foods store in Moab, just miles from where she and her wife of four months were killed. Like Petito and Laundrie, the couple took to a semi-nomadic lifestyle after converting their van into a camper and making regular camping trips.
Investigators later announced that the double murder was unrelated to Petito’s case, as reiterated by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.
“In the course of this investigation, there has been considerable conjecture that Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie were somehow involved in the double homicide,” the statement read. “Upon investigation, the FBI and Florida investigators have determined, based on electronic transmission evidence, that neither Petito nor Laundrie were involved in this case.”
Petito’s body was discovered on Sept. 19, 2021, weeks after she’d been strangled to death, as previously reported. Last week, the FBI announced that Brian Laundrie, who took his own life, claimed responsibility for his girlfriend’s murder in a notebook found near his body.
Now, authorities with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office are setting their sights on new suspects in the Schulte-Turner investigation, though who they’re looking at remains unclear.
“GCSO has persons on interest but has not yet identified a suspect,” they continued in their statement. “GSCO continues to examine and analyze evidence by utilizing third-party and FBI crime labs.”
Schulte and Turner made claims to family members in the days preceding their deaths that an unknown man was “creeping them out,” forcing the couple to move their campsite.
According to Wednesday’s statement, an acquaintance found the bodies of Schulte and Turner in an irrigation ditch after growing concerned for their wellbeing. Both victims had been shot multiple times, as reported in a postmortem examination. There were no signs of sexual assault.
Investigators ruled out the possibility of a murder-suicide and determined the couple died days earlier on Aug. 14, 2021. Evidence found at the scene included their tent, personal belongings found inside and outside their vehicle, blood, shell casings, bullet fragments, and video evidence from neighboring properties.
Following their deaths, Captain Shan Hackwell of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office stated there was no danger to the public, according to local Utah station Fox 13.
“The evidence that we’ve gathered at this time, that’s what it’s led us to believe was an isolated incident,” said Hackwell.
Anyone with information about the murders of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner is asked to contact the Grand County Sheriff’s Office at 435-259-1397 or 435-259-1397.