Kylen Schulte, 24, was found fatally shot alongside her wife, Crystal Turner, 38, on 18 August last year at their campsite in Moab in eastern Utah. They had complained that a man they described as a “weirdo” and a “creep” had been camping nearby.
Authorities said in September that they were “actively looking” at possible connections between the double murder and Brian Laundrie, 23, who had vanished after the disappearance of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, 22.
Ms Petito was later found dead and the FBI recently revealed that Laundrie admitted in a notebook to having killed her. Laundrie was found dead in what authorities say was a suicide.
Laundrie and Ms Petito were last seen when they were stopped by police during a fight in Moab on 12 August. Ms Schulte and Ms Turner were last seen the following day. The fight seemed to have begun near a community cooperative where Ms Schulte was working.
Grand County Sheriff Steven White said in a statement on 19 January that “the FBI and Florida investigators have determined, based on electronic transmission evidence, that neither Petito nor Laundrie were involved in this case”.
While the Sheriff didn’t specify what evidence ruled out a connection between the cases, he said that the ongoing spread of the rumours would be “unhelpful to the criminal investigation, if not dangerous”.
The Sheriff said law enforcement “has persons of interest but has not yet identified a suspect”. The medical examiner has said that Ms Turner and Ms Schulte were “shot multiple times” but that no sexual assault appeared to have taken place.
Ms Schulte’s father, Sean-Paul Schulte, told KSL News Radio that “speculation by web sleuths” was pulling attention and focus away from the effort to find the real murderer.
“They have told us that Brian and Gabby were not involved in our case. We have no reason to dispute that,” he said, adding that the only connection between the cases is that all four people happened to be in Moab at the same time.
“There is no point in continuing to waste time, energy, effort, news and press over Brian and Gabby,” Mr Schulte added.
Ms Schulte and Ms Turner were four months into their marriage at the time of their deaths, living in a van and moving from campsite to campsite, mostly in the area around Moab.
After having left for a camping trip on 13 August, they were last seen that night at Woody’s Tavern in Moab. They left the tavern shortly after midnight, arriving back at their campsite around 1am on 14 August. This was the last time that anyone was in touch with them. They didn’t show up to work the next day and a friend found them shot to death on 18 August.
As they camped in the La Sal Mountains outside Moab, they had texted friends and family that they had been having issues with a “creepy” man in the area.
In a statement, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office asked the Moab community to “be careful about sharing information on social media,” adding that “such information tends to be misinformed, inaccurate, and unhelpful”.
Anyone with information that can help the investigation is urged to call the authorities at 435-259-8115 or 435-259-1397.