Authorities have announced a suspect in the double homicide of two newlywed women who were shot to death in the Utah mountains.
Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Turner, 38, were found slain at their campsite in the South Mesa area of the La Sal Mountains on Aug. 18, as previously reported. On Wednesday, officials with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office identified Adam Pinkusiewicz as a suspect in the murders.
According to the sheriff’s office, Pinkusiewicz was near the La Sal Mountains and the town of Moab around the time of the murders and later moved out of state before taking his own life.
The suspect died about one month after the murders, according to Fox Salt Lake City affiliate KSTU.
Photo: Grand County Sheriff's Office
“We located his car, and that’s when we found out he had committed suicide,” said Grand County Sheriff Steven White.
White told the Salt Lake City outlet that they had yet to recover the murder weapon.
Authorities say Pinkusiewicz was identified as “one of many persons of interest” early in the investigation, though “numerous” attempts to locate and interview him were seemingly unsuccessful.
Pinkusiewicz reportedly worked at the same McDonald’s in Moab where Crystal Turner also worked, authorities stated. The suspect allegedly implicated himself before his death.
“GCSO conducted numerous interviews and recently received information that prior to committing suicide, Adam Pinkusiewicz told another party that he had killed two women in Utah and provided specific details that were known only to investigators.”
The announcement came one day after TV celebrity Dog the Bounty Hunter held a press conference, vowing to solve the double slaying, according to CBS Salt Lake City affiliate KUTV.
News of a suspect was welcomed by Schulte’s father, Sean-Paul Schulte, who joined Sheriff White in front of the courthouse on Wednesday.
“Grand County Sheriff’s Office was right; the case is very solvable,” said Schulte. “I hope they can process the evidence and close the case.”
Officials say they recently located and seized Pinkusiewicz’s 2007 Toyota Yaris and are continuing to “process critical and newly discovered evidence.”
Photo: Grand County Sheriff's Office
Schulte and Turner, who’d only been married for four months, had converted their van into a camper and frequently took camping trips around the area. Days before they were gunned down, the couple told friends that a man had been “creeping them out,” forcing them to move their campsite.
The slaying happened just before the search for Gabby Petito began to make national news. Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who federal authorities say confessed to murdering her in a notebook before taking his own life, had been in Moab about a week before Schulte and Turner were killed. Speculation ran rampant that the cases might have been linked, but authorities dispelled that notion.
In January, authorities announced they had a “person of interest” in the Schulte-Turner murders but did not release a name.
One month later, a recently unsealed warrant revealed authorities questioned a man who worked at the Moonflower Community Cooperative – where Schulte was employed – and slept in a car not far from where the women camped. The man, whose name was not released, was ultimately ruled out as a suspect.
“[Pinkusiewicz] was one of these guys where he kind of camped out everywhere,” Sheriff White told KTSU. “I think his address here was the post office.”
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office emphasized that though they’ve named Pinkusiewicz as a suspect, the case remains active. They are seeking the public’s help to glean information about the suspect or his 2007 Toyota Yaris.
Sheriff White expressed his relief and thanked his team for their work in the case, according to KUTV.
“I will feel better when we have a total closure on this, but it’s a huge relief,” said White. “I can’t put it into words right now. They’ve never quit. They’ve kept this going. There hasn’t been a day that we haven’t worked on this.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Grand County Sheriff’s Office at 435-259-8115.