The Grand County Sheriff’s Office identified a suspect Wednesday in the slaying of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner, a newlywed couple who were found fatally shot near their campsite in the La Sal Mountains outside of Moab on Aug. 18.
The suspect, Adam Pinkusiewicz, was a former employee at a McDonald’s in Moab where Turner worked, investigators said in a news release.
Pinkusiewicz was originally one of many people identified as “persons of interest” in the case, but he left Utah shortly after the double homicide and later died by suicide, authorities said.
Officials recently received information that prior to his death, Pinkusiewicz had told someone that he had killed two women in Utah. He had also divulged “specific details” of the case that were only known to investigators, authorities said.
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office is now processing “critical and newly discovered” evidence in the case, including Pinkusiewicz’s vehicle. Anyone with information about the man or the case may contact investigators at 435-259-8115.
An attempt to reach an aunt of Schulte after the Wednesday announcement was not immediately returned.
Nine months of investigation
Schulte and Turner were married in April 2021 and had been living at campgrounds near Moab while they worked in town. They were reported missing on Aug. 16 after they didn’t show up for work, and a friend of Schulte’s found the couple dead two days later in South Mesa.
In September, court documents revealed Schulte had told friends that there was a “creepy man” around their camp and that they were intimidated by him. She also told them “if something happens to us, we were murdered,” court records state.
A month after the women were killed — and even with a $10,000 reward offered for information — no suspects had been named. So Schulte’s father set up a “clue booth” at Swanny Park in Moab, seeking tips from the public himself as Moab Police, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI continued to investigate.
There was early speculation that the double homicide may have been connected to Gabby Petito’s disappearance and death based on timing, as Petito and her fiance, Brian Laundrie, had traveled through the Moab area during a leg of their cross-country road trip shortly before the two women were found dead.
Petito was later found dead near Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 19, and evidence suggested she had been strangled. Laundrie, who returned home from their trip alone on Sept. 1, was considered a person of interest in her disappearance. After disappearing himself Sept. 14, his remains were found in a Florida nature reserve in October. A lawyer for his parents said he died by suicide.
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office in September though ruled out any link between the Petito case and the double homicide of Schulte and Turner. The FBI later confirmed in January that there was no link between the cases.
Women remembered as loving couple
At a memorial service for the women in September, a crowd of about 70 people gathered in Moab’s Old City Park around picnic tables, which were topped with Mason jars and empty bottles filled with roses and sunflowers.
The sunflowers represented Schulte, a tall, bright, lover of the outdoors. The roses represented Turner, Schulte’s leather-clad, hard-nosed, loving companion in life, relatives said.
“Kylen was the greatest thing that ever happened to this dad ...” Schulte’s father, Sean-Paul Schulte, told the crowd. “Another light came into my life. It was Crystal. I loved her like my own daughter.”
Before Wednesday’s release, the most recent update to the case came in late February, when the Grand County Sheriff’s Office ruled out another suspect in the couple’s death whose blanket and jacket were found near Turner and Schulte’s campsite.
Authorities continue to investigate.