When Moab art collector Cindy Sue Hunter saw a post on Facebook about two women who had suddenly gone missing, she felt like she had to find them.
Hunter recognized one of the women in the post, 24-year-old Kylen Schulte, from Moonflower Community Cooperative, a grocery store in Moab. Schulte and her wife, 38-year-old Crystal Turner, were reported missing on Sunday by members of their family after missing consecutive shifts at work.
Hunter loaded up her car with supplies and set out to be “her own little mini search and rescue team,” said Schulte’s aunt, Bridget Calvert. Hunter drove to campsites in the area, eventually ending up deep into the South Mesa area of the La Sal Mountains looking for the silver Kia that the women were last seen in. Schulte and Turner had been living at campgrounds near the town. Hunter thought about heading home but decided to turn back and look for a little longer.
Hunter saw a flash of gray in the trees beyond the road. As she approached the car, she called Kylen’s father, Sean Paul Schulte, who she knew because his work had previously been featured in her art gallery.
“Oh my god, I found the Kia,” she told Sean Paul. “I found them.”
Hunter left her car and could make out the body of one of the women on the ground nearby. Sean Paul told her to hang up the phone and call the police.
Calvert learned of Hunter’s efforts from her older brother. “Without her [Kylen and Turner] would probably still be missing and we wouldn’t have any answers,” Calvert said.
Calvert said that the recent passing of Hunter’s mother motivated her to search for the women. Hunter felt she was being guided by her mother on the day she found the bodies of Turner and Kylen.
Calvert, who created the Facebook page “Finding Kylen and Crystal” when the women first went missing, said that her family is grateful that Hunter searched in the areas beyond the campsites where Turner and Schulte usually stayed. It made sense to Calvert that the women wouldn’t be at an organized campsite. She remembers driving well beyond designated grounds when her family would go camping in the mountains of Montana when she was younger.
As the youngest of four Schulte siblings, Calvert looked forward to the opportunity to be an aunt. She said she formed a special connection with Kylen when she was born. Kylen would call her “Auntie Bridgey” when she was a child, and the nickname stuck with Calvert ever since.
Kylen “just loved nature and loved the outdoors,” Calvert said. Calvert’s mother would often take Kylen, who was born in Vail, Colorado, with her on hiking trips when she returned to Montana to visit. Calvert moved in with Sean Paul when Kylen was 7 years old and remembers singing songs with Kylen to get her to brush her teeth.
Kylen’s love for the outdoors deepened when Sean Paul moved the family to Moab, where she met Turner in 2019. They bonded over their passion for nature and fell in love. Two years later, they were married in a treehouse in Turner’s home state of Arkansas in April 2021. The couple bounced around campsites in Moab while Turner worked at the McDonald’s restaurant in town and Kylen worked at Moonflower.
“The fact that [Kylen] found a way to almost always be outdoors was perfect for her,” Calvert said. “And then to find someone that had that same love and passion for life and the outdoors — they just were truly meant to be together.”
Kylen, “never lost a child’s innocence... She didn’t want the hatred of the world get to her,” Calvert added. Sean Paul had embraced Turner as his own daughter, Calvert said.
“Every time I’ve talked to [Sean Paul] in the last 48 hours he’s going, ‘I can’t believe someone killed my girls,’” Calvert said.
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office didn’t report the women as missing initially because they could have been acting on their own free will. But it didn’t make sense to Calvert that the women both missed work. It wasn’t like them to do that without calling to explain why they were missing their shift.
Calvert had heard from Sean Paul that the couple had complained of a “creepy guy” near their campsite to their friends twice in the days before their disappearance, but she knew the situation was serious when their Harley Davidson motorcycle was found in the town.
“If they decided to go on some big camping trip or suddenly drive to Arkansas or Montana or whatever, they would never leave the Harley just sitting there,” Calvert said. “That was like the big trigger that they were missing.”
Calvert started the Facebook group and started posting on every social media platform she could think of about the women.
Support from people in Moab poured in, with people offering information intended to help in the search for Kylen and Turner. The Sheriff’s Office was not releasing many details about what happened, so Calvert searched for anything helpful online. Some users told Calvert about things they had heard on police scanners while others commented their theories of what happened on her Facebook posts.
On Wednesday, Aug. 18, the Sheriff’s Office announced that they had recovered the bodies of two women in the La Sal mountains after Hunter found them off La Sal Loop Road. The next day officials identified the bodies as Schulte and Turner, but they did not take anyone into custody. The Sheriff’s Office said it “believes there is no current danger to the public in the Grand County area,” on Thursday.
“That was very frustrating,” Calvert said. “It’s one thing to have closure that we went from missing to finding them, which, you know, I wish we would have found them in a different situation. But then there’s the frustration of knowing whoever killed them is probably out living their best life right now.”
The Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State of Utah Special Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement partners are investigating the deaths of Kylen and Turner as a double homicide. No suspect has been taken into custody as of Wednesday.
Calvert said that the hardest thing for Kylen’s family has been explaining what happened to her younger siblings, Marlo and Zander. The Schultes lost Kylen’s younger brother, Mackeon, in 2015 to an accidental gunshot by one of his friends.
“For their mom to have to tell [Marlo and Zander] that they lost another sibling tragically is really hard,” Calvert said.
In the days since Kylen’s disappearance, Calvert has had to put on a “business mindset” to help coordinate funeral services and provide updates on Facebook. When she isn’t handling logistics or giving interviews to the media, she says it’s hard to keep things together.
“I’m pretty much always hyperventilating and hysterical crying. The pain in my chest, in my head, from days of hysterical crying is so bad,” Calvert said. It’s even harder to explain to her 6-year-old daughter why she can’t stop crying, she said.
Calvert said it’s helped to think of the moments she shared with Kylen in life. She said she has been reflecting on a moment in 2012 when she took Kylen and Mackeon to a concert with her husband in Missoula, Montana. They saw their favorite Irish band, The Screaming Orphans, and then traveled to Kalispell, Montana, to ride the alpine slide and teach Mackeon to fish in the river.
The families of Kylen and Turner are trying to coordinate how they can lay them to rest together. The family plans to inter her in Montana next to Mackeon.
On Sunday, residents of Moab gathered at Moonflower to hold a candlelit vigil for the couple. The GoFundMe page that Calvert set up to help Sean-Paul pay for the expenses of moving Kylen, Turner and their belongings to Montana and Arkansas has raised more than $33,000.
Sean-Paul asked people in a Facebook post Friday to “remember [Kylen and Crystal’s] lives and not their deaths.” He thanked everyone who sent well wishes and asked for them to pray for him and his family.
Calvert said that while Kylen and Crystal’s lives may have ended, “the light of their undying love will shine on.”
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office asked that anyone that saw Kylen or Crystal from Aug. 13-18 or anyone with additional information about the case call the office at (435) 259-8115.