Grand County closes case of two women killed while camping near Moab

Dec 29, 2022, 4:29 PM | Updated: 6:11 pm

The bodies of Crystal Turner, 38, and Kylen Schulte, 24, were found in the South Mesa area of the L...

The bodies of Crystal Turner, 38, and Kylen Schulte, 24, were found in the South Mesa area of the La Sal Loop Road.

MOAB, Utah — The investigation into the killing of two Utah women, 38-year-old Crystal Turner and 24-year-old Kylen Schulte in the Moab area, will be closed.

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office said it will close the case and is satisfied that Adam Tomer Pinkusiewicz was responsible for shooting and killing the married couple on Aug. 14, 2021. They were reported missing two days later and were found dead on Aug. 18, 2021.

Pinkusiewicz took his own life on Sept. 24, 2021 in a motel in Waterloo Iowa. Det. Carrie Rigby, with Utah’s Unified Police Department, who did much of Thursday’s presentation to media, said the suspect’s family has been cooperative with investigators.

“If he (Pinkusiewicz) was alive, this would be a situation where we have enough to place him under arrest and we feel like we would be able to take him to trial and get a guilty conviction,” Rigby said. “So the case will be closed.”

Adam Pinkusiwicz

The Grand County Sheriff Department named Adam Pinkusiwicz as a suspect in the murders of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Beck Turner. (Grand County Sheriff)

Rigby presented the case to media Thursday while Nate Whitney with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, was the lead investigator, said he was having voice problems Thursday and wouldn’t be speaking much. Rigby presented a timeline of events in the days after the homicide and presented key evidence.

Key evidence included:

  • A black Toyota Yaris, the same or similar to the one Pinkusiewicz had, leaving the area shortly after the shooting
  • Red tipped ammunition, similar or the same as Pinkusiewicz was later known to have purchased
  • Man camping near the victims with a car and beard matching Punkusiewicz
  • A history of threats including toward a female supervisor at McDonald’s

Police said there was no forensic evidence linking the suspect. Rain during the two days after the killings washed away evidence that would typically be collected, and the bodies were found in a creek by a friend of the victims, but investigators said they did have the suspect’s DNA and said if other evidence was presented they would reexamine the case.

Pinkusiewicz left Utah in the days following the killings and couldn’t be located, including by the FBI, assisting on the case. He was a person of interest but wasn’t located until after he was dead.

In May, after a prominent bounty hunter publicly got involved in the case, investigators said there was a suspect in the case and named Pinkusiewicz. At the time they said he told another person about the killings without providing further details.

That person was identified as a significant other in the area where Pinkusiewicz killed himself. According to investigators, when they initiated contact with the unnamed love interest, he said he knew why they were talking to him and said it was because of the Utah killings. He also apparently told investigators Pinkusiewicz told him that he killed the pair because he worked with one of the women and thought she was bossy.

Photos released by investigators of the campsite where Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner were killed. (Grand County)

The unidentified man also revealed details about the killings that were never made public, including that Turner and Schulte were shot inside their tent and their bodies were moved.

“That was only known to law enforcement,” Rigby said. She said the only way a person could know that was if they were at the killing or were told about it by somebody there. The significant other was definitely cleared by investigators from being in Utah at the time.

“The only way they would have gotten that information was from Adam,” Rigby said.

After Pinkusiewicz’s suicide, most of his belongings were thrown away and his body was cremated but his family did provide investigators with cell phones and a bag of bullets they took from his car. The phones had been wiped and encrypted by Pinkusiewicz but a few items were recovered including memos that indicated he wanted to hurt people.

“I’m afraid I have an ongoing impulse in me to kill or rape ppl” one memo presented Thursday said.

Rigby said his notes about these impulses didn’t express concern for people he might hurt but rather concern by Pinkusiewicz that he would be judged for his urges.

Tips to police included a photo of Pinkusiewicz near his car by other campers who found his behavior concerning.

Adam Pinkusiewicz

Adam Pinkusiewicz shown at a campsite near Moab, Utah, in a tip provided to investigators in the murders of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner. (Grand County)

Investigators talked about other suspects, including Brian Laundrie who was in the Moab area with his girlfriend Gabby Petito. She was later killed and he committed suicide, leaving a note that he was responsible for her death.

While Laundrie’s involvement was a popular internet theory and was even presented as a theory on some television programs, police cleared him based on location records confirmed by his phone, and his name was only a footnote in Thursday’s presentation.

Moab police responded to an Aug. 12 incident between Petito and Laundrie before later search efforts for Petito focused on the Grant Teton National Park area and the Florida home of Laundrie’s parents. She was eventually found dead.

On Sept. 15, 2021 Brian Laundrie was named a person of interest in the Petito case. His remains were found Oct. 20, 2021, along with a backpack, notebook and a revolver in a Florida park.

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Grand County closes case of two women killed while camping near Moab