CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Moab women remembered by woman who found their bodies

Aug 23, 2021, 6:00 AM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:21 am
missing murdered moab women with bunny homicide investigation...
Crystal Beck, left, and Kylen Schulte, on a 2020 road trip. Photo from Schulte's Instagram.

MOAB, Utah — Days after the discovery of the bodies of two missing Moab women, the woman who found their bodies describes them as caring and loving souls — and hopes investigators provide answers soon, as the community mourns. 

Read more: Grand County Sheriff’s Office is investigating deaths of two females

Friends planned a candlelight vigil in honor of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Beck Sunday night at Moonflower, the co-op where Schulte worked. A second memorial service is likely to take place later this month.

Authorities say Schulte and Beck, a married couple last seen Aug. 14, were shot to death. 

A painful journey begins

Cindy Sue Hunter, a Moab resident, found the bodies of the two women Aug. 18 in the South Mesa area of the La Sal Loop Road. She went looking for the two women after speaking with Schulte’s father, Sean-Paul, who had visited her arts and crafts store before it moved off Center Street. 

“(Kylen and her father) were one of my very first customers that walked in the door,” Hunter told KSL NewsRadio. “I displayed Sean-Paul’s artwork and greeting cards. He was one of the first artists I sponsored in my little store. So I’ve know them for six and a half years.” 

Hunter met Beck more recently, within the last year or so.

“I just know that she and Kylen loved each other very much,” she said.

Moab women initially feared in an accident

According to Hunter, she set out on Wednesday, Aug. 18, to see if she could help find the two missing women, stopping first at the Moab McDonald’s where Beck worked. 

At the restaurant, one of Beck’s co-workers said it would be highly unusual for her not to show up without calling in. Hunter worried the two fell victim to an accident near their campsite, near Pack Creek. 

“I knew when the fires had happened, that he (Schulte’s father) had contacted me to see if I knew if his girls were okay because they camped in Pack Creek.  They literally lived in their vehicles, in the mountains in the summertime because there’s no place to live in Moab,” Hunter recalled.

While searching in the area of Geyser Pass, Hunter’s phone rang — a surprise, as she did not normally have service in the area. There, she learned from Sean-Paul Schulte that he’d found out one of the two women had mentioned a ‘creeper dude’ that spooked them into considering moving their camp site. She immediately turned around, feeling a sense of urgency. 

‘I don’t know how to describe it’

Hunter didn’t know where the two women and their missing silver Kia might be in the mountains above Moab, so she can’t explain what happened next. 

She whispered a prayer, asking for the missing women to give her a sense of where to look next. 

“I don’t know how to describe it, I was being told to go straight and to hurry, so I drove past Warner, over the cattle guard when I saw a flash of silver, out of my peripheral vision, then saw the silver car and a tent in what looked like a camping area,” according to Hunter.

She immediately stopped driving and called police, who gave her instructions to wait for them to arrive. 

“And so I called Sean-Paul to tell him that I had found their car,” Hunter said. 

She didn’t immediately see any sign of the two Moab women. However, she did find their pet rabbit, a bunny named Ruthie. 

“And she was inside of a little gray case, crate inside of a black taller crate with no food and no water. Yet I knew I couldn’t help her. I knew I couldn’t touch her cage or anything because of potential evidence that this was a crime,” Hunter continued. 

Finding the first body 

With Schulte’s father still on the phone, Hunter decided to walk a short distance away. She wanted to look for evidence that the women had just gone for a hike. 

“So I went over the mound of dirt to the far right of the vehicle. And I saw a package of some kind of sports drinks, maybe Gatorade or something, that were scattered and all askew. And I saw Ky’s body, but I shut it out of my mind,” Hunter said through tears. 

“Sean was telling me to run back to my car, get back in your car with the windows and lock the doors,” she said. “And I told him I did, and I told them I have to call the police and let them know that I found the body and that they needed to hurry. But I mean, she — I knew she was gone.” 

“Please tell us how we are safe” 

Police arrived shortly afterward, discovering Beck’s body a short distance away.

After making sure Hunter was not a suspect, she said they let her go. She asked to take Ruthie home with her until she could make sure it wound up with a friend who sometimes watched the animal for the couple. 

“She drank four containers of water, she ate — I don’t know how many carrots, and an entire bowl of field greens. And then I just held her, and I told her I wish she could talk. I wish she could tell me what happened because she was a witness,” Hunter said. 

Investigators told Hunter she should feel safe, but with no suspect or suspects in custody, she does not feel safe. She said many others in the community feel the same way. 

“We want to know — are we safe? You don’t have a suspect. You’re not claiming it was murder suicide. So please tell us how we are safe,” she said.

Remembering two murdered Moab women

Hunter struggles to see the positive in her discovery, though many of the women’s friends call her a hero. 

“I did bring them home. It’s just not how I wanted to bring them home. I had taken food and blankets and towels and digging tools, I was prepared to rescue them alive, but not deceased — I wasn’t prepared for that,” she said. 

In addition to the vigil planned for Sunday night and a future memorial, Schulte’s aunt, Bridget Calvert, set up a GoFundMe* account that raised more than $29,000 in four days. Hunter said the funds will help bring Schulte’s father to Moab to get her remains and take them home. He wants to bury her next to her brother, Mackeon, who died in an accident involving a gun in 2015. After the fund raised more than needed, the family extended it to help Beck’s family with their expenses. 

*KSL NewsRadio does not assure that the money deposited to the account directly benefits the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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