How an Investigator Is Using Satellite Images to Solve Murders of Utah Couple Who Noticed 'Creepy Man'
A Utah-based private investigator is optimistic he'll solve the gruesome, mid-August murders of newlywed couple Crystal Turner and Kylen Schulte — believing that satellite imagery and increased awareness of the killings on social media will crack the case.
Jason K. Jensen tells PEOPLE he's working pro bono on the case, after Schulte's aunt reached out looking for his help. He says that solving the murders hinges entirely on finding the "creepy" man the nomadic couple had described in text messages to family and friends just before they stopped responding.
In those messages, the women said that they would likely be moving campsites, because they had been having problems with a strange man while camping in the La Sal Mountains, just outside of Moab.
In at least one text, the couple — married for just four months — commented that, if they ended up dead, they were murdered.
Turner, 38, and Schulte, 24, lived in their van, moving from campsite to campsite, but primarily stayed in the Moab area.
They had left to go on a camping excursion on Aug. 13, and were last seen later that evening at Woody's Tavern on Main Street in Moab. They were last heard from on Aug. 14, and a concerned friend discovered them dead from gunshot wounds on Aug. 18.
At this time, no arrests have been made and no suspects have been formally named. There had been speculation the double-murder could be connected to the strangulation death of Gabby Petito, but authorities have ruled out that possibility.
"We are seeking satellite imagery of that area for shortly before and immediately after they disappeared, but before they were found dead," Jensen explains. "I don't expect that they're going to find a [license] plate, because it's skyward, but we are hoping that it gives us at least a clue" about what vehicle the killer may have been driving.
If Jensen is able to determine the make, model and color of that car, he will share that information across social media, which might yield additional clues about the man's identity.
"My approach to investigations is go public with my information, because the public can help," Jensen said. "If somebody had their dash-cam on, and happened to pass the same color vehicle, maybe their camera obtained the plate number. Then, this case could easily be solved."
Jensen said dozens of calls have been made to a tip-line established by Schulte's dad, and that all of those leads are being explored.
According to Jensen, Turner and Schulte left Woody's Tavern just after midnight, and returned to their campsite shortly before 1 a.m. on Aug. 14.
Both women failed to show up at their jobs at 5:30 a.m. on Aug. 15.
"So, that means the window where they were murdered was very early on the 14th to very early on the 15th, so you're talking no better than a 24-, 25-hour window," Jensen explains.
Jensen says he has the names of a few people he's looking at as possible suspects, including a convict with a long history of violent arrests.
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That man, who wasn't captured until late last month, had been camping in Moab around the same time the women were killed.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched online to help surviving relatives with funeral expenses and to pay for their satellite imagery.
Investigators ask that anyone with information about the killings contact them at 435-259-8115.