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Newly unsealed documents show that deputies in Utah thought they had a suspect early in the investigation into a married couple murdered last summer near Moab, but eventually ruled him out.
Newlyweds Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Turner, 38, were found slain at a campsite in the La Sal Mountains outside Moab on Aug. 18, 2021. Although authorities with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office stated last month that there were “persons of interest” in the case, warrants unsealed on Feb. 18 shed light on one man questioned about the murders in the early days but no longer considered a potential suspect by police.
Local outlets did not release his name because he was not arrested in connection to the murders.
Court documents stated that law enforcement should “explore this avenue of inquiry” but looking into the man, Salt Lake City Fox 13 reported earlier this week. However, on Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said that the man was ruled out as a suspect early on in the investigation.
The man had been pulled over for speeding one day after Schulte and Turner were reported missing — and just hours before their bodies were found — and gave the deputy cause for concern, according to NBC affiliate KSL TV and Fox 13.
The newly unsealed warrant said that the deputy claimed the man “acted oddly for being pulled over for speeding, almost a combination of euphoria and that he had been caught doing something wrong,” according to Fox 13.
“He was so unnerving that the veteran law enforcement officer decided not to write the speeding ticket, as he did not want to take his eyes off of him,” the documents stated.
According to KSL, the deputy said in the warrant that the man had a demeanor that “was similar that I have had interactions with who had untreated mental illness."
According to Fox 13, the deputy said specifically that the man stared “vacantly at the person talking to him, and answer[ed] in non-committal ways.”
The unnamed man told authorities he’d been hired as an employee at the Moonflower Community Cooperative — where Schulte was also employed — just days before he was fulled over.
“[The man] was asked if all the interactions with Kylen were good, [the man] stated that depending on the day, the interactions had with other people could be good or bad, depending on people’s feelings,” the warrant stated. “I asked how he would react to being rejected or scorned, [the man] again rambled but essentially stated that he would just experience it.”
Authorities said that the man could not account for his whereabouts on the days surrounding Schulte and Turner’s murders.
“He would travel to a spot that he often slept at, as it was away from people,” said the unsealed warrants, according to KSL. “He described the location that he would normally sleep at as 100 to 300 yards up the Loop Road from the Moab Overlook on a dirt road and that he had left a blanket there.”
Days before the bodies of Schulte and Turner were found, the married couple told friends they were forced to pack and move their campsite because an unknown man was “creeping them out,” as reported by Oxygen.com. It's unclear if they were referring to the same man.
When asked on Aug. 18 whether he had killed the two women, the warrant said the man denied that he had done so, according to Fox 13.
“He swallowed but had no other outward sign of nervousness or surprise,” according to court documents when he was then told that police were investigating their deaths. “He did not shift stance, he looked from the second investigator to me, his carotid artery did not pulse, and his chest did not move quickly.”
Witnesses told authorities that the man frequently slept in his car, according to KSL. One witness claimed she had to remove the man from her business because he “makes unwanted advances towards women and makes them feel uneasy.”
Law enforcement later visited the location described by the man as a place he frequently slept and found two blankets and a jacket that appeared to have blood on them, according to KSL. Schulte and Turner, police said, would have had to pass the location en route to the campsite where their bodies were later found.
Authorities, however, said Wednesday that the evidence collected at the scene did not produce fruitful results.
“Grand County Sheriff’s Office recently allowed multiple sealed search warrants, which had been filed in the initial days of the South Mesa double homicide, to expire rather than extend them,” stated the sheriff’s office. “These warrants related to searches for various persons, locations, and databases in an attempt to obtain evidence related to the case.”
“One of these warrants referred to a blanket and jacket owned by a named individual seized from a campsite near South Mesa,” authorities stated. “Grand County Sheriff’s Office allowed the seal on this search warrant to expire because forensics analysis determined there was no related evidence on the items, the individual was ruled out as a suspect early in the investigation, and the individual was already well known to the Moab community.”
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office says the investigation is still open and asks anyone with information to call them at 1-435-259-8115 or 1-435-259-1397.
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