GRAND COUNTY, Utah — More than a year after two women were found dead in the mountains of Utah, officials presented their findings of a lengthy investigation, saying they believe the women may have not known the man who murdered them.
In August 2021, 38-year old Crystal Michelle Turner and 24-year-old Kylen Carrol Schulte were found shot to death in Grand County.
On Thursday, their families and community got some answers.
“I have a sunflower candle that I got for Kylen,” said her aunt, Bridget Calvert. “I’ll listen to this press release, I’m going to light my sunflower candle and just remember to keep letting their light shine.”
Turner and Schulte were newlyweds and camping in the area when they were brutally murdered. Community members rallied to remember the two women and their impact.
“It's difficult to have the patience through the process,” explained Calvert. “Even knowing that, like an update, was coming to just breathe and accept that it's coming, and that that we can't change anything that's happened, but to wait for the answers.”
Turner and Schulte were newlyweds and camping in the area when they were brutally murdered.
After their murders, community members rallied to remember the two women and their impact.
In May, Adam Pinkusiewicz was named the suspect connected to the deaths. Officials said Pinkusiewicz told another person details that were only known to investigators in the case.
He later died by suicide last September, about a month after the murders of the two women, after leaving the state, officials said.
When he was named as a suspect, officials said Pinkusiewicz was a former employee at the McDonald's in Moab where Turner also worked.
In an updated conference Thursday, investigators disclosed that Pinkusiewicz may have seen Turner making sandwiches for herself and Schulte but may not have had a relationship at all with the women as Turner worked different shifts.
After the homicide, Pinkusiewicz never went back to work at McDonald's and did not pick up his last check. He left Utah shortly after and moved to Iowa.
Before the women were murdered, officials said they had expressed concern over a "creepy camper" that had been lurking near their campsite. Evidence collected by witnesses suggests Pinkusiewicz could have been the camper.
According to a timeline laid out by investigators on the days leading up to their deaths, on Aug. 12, Turner and Schulte met someone they called a “creepy camper” and reported he was uncomfortably close to their area.
On Aug. 13, the women did tell told their friends "if they don’t show up to work, come look for us."
On Aug. 14, gunshots and screams were heard at 11:48 am. On Aug. 15, Turner didn’t come to work, and on the 16 both don’t show up for work. That day, both were reported missing to Moab police.
On Aug. 17, their families post on social media to ask for help looking for Turner and Schulte. On Aug. 18, their bodies were found.
One of the challenges in the case was that Pinkusiewicz had died and his remains were cremated and the scene of the murder experienced significant rain before being investigated by officials, making it difficult to obtain any forensic evidence.
In addition, personal belongings were thrown away after his death. Family members have been cooperative during the investigation, officials noted that Pinkusiewicz told his significant other that he murdered the two women.
He told specific details to the significant other that were previously only known to law enforcement but because the significant other was scared of Pinkusiewicz, he didn't bring the information forward.
In an announcement Thursday, the Grand County Sheriff's Office called the homicides a "tragic event in [the] community" and thanked the community for their help and perseverance during the investigation.
Calvert said outlining the case this way did open some old wounds.
“They are not here to charge, they are not here to say, you know this person is guilty. I think that's the difference of feeling like that that it's that that closure isn't there," Calvert said.
Calvert said she is grateful for the community’s support throughout the process.
“The determination of the community led us to having today, not only today with answers, but to having today, with this huge community full of love and support for our girls," Calvert said. "And just thank you so much for the outpouring of love and kindness that we have seen throughout this.”
Officials also said the case at this point is closed but should anything come up in the future, it can be reopened for further investigation.
Mythili Gubbi and Melanie Porter at KSTU first reported this story.