“It sounds very strong that he’s the guy who did it,” said Jason Jensen, the private investigator hired by Schulte’s father in October. “All the cards are lining up against him: He had animus toward these girls, he was familiar with his victims he abandoned his job and avoided picking up his check – guilty-conscience activities.”
Pinkusiewicz, a 45-year-old drifter, in the days before the killings accused his manager, who was also in a same-sex relationship, of giving Turner special treatment, Jensen told Fox News Digital.
Schulte and Turner were last seen alive on surveillance video at Woody’s Tavern in downtown Moab on Aug. 13.
On the following morning they were believed to have been killed. Schulte and Turner rode into town on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and left it at the McDonald’s parking lot, taking a car back up to their campsite, which they intended to move after telling friends a “creeper” had bothered them the night before, Jensen said.
The fact that they left the bike in the parking lot and not in a garage meant they planned to return soon, Jensen said. But he believes Pinkusiewicz followed them up the mountain and ambushed them.
It’s unclear whether Pinkusiewicz and the “creeper” are the same person. Authorities said it’s a possibility, while Jensen said he believes they are separate individuals.
“If he was a co-worker, why would they tell their friend ‘a creeper’ is bothering us?” he said. “Even though they say in crime that coincidences don’t happen, well, occasionally you really will have a coincidence.”
When Grand County investigators tried to interview Pinkusiewicz in connection with the case, he’d already left Utah, the sheriff’s office said Wednesday. But they found a witness to whom he allegedly confessed specific details of the crime, “that were known only to investigators.”
Pinkusiewicz was one of more than 20 initial persons of interest. Within days of the murder, Schulte’s father, Sean-Paul Schulte, received word of his suspicious activity, Jensen said. And in November, a McDonald’s coworker told a group of TikTokers that she thought the FBI should investigate him.
In video of the conversation, a co-worker recounts a story about Pinkusiewicz arguing with other employees there “because they are lesbians” and said he quit shortly after the incident, leaving behind his final paycheck.
The group went directly to law enforcement and to Jensen, according to Olivia Vitale, who took part in the conversation.
By then, Pinkusiewicz hadn’t been found but may have already killed himself, Jensen said.
“He’s been dead since September,” he said.
That’s just weeks after Cindy Sue Hunter, an acquaintance of the victims, stumbled upon the crime scene atop La Sal Loop Road southeast of the city. She was on the phone with Schulte’s father at the time.
“I want it to be true so that we can all start moving on, but I truly am struggling with all of it,” she said of Pinkusiewicz’s identification as a suspect.
Back in September, she predicted that the slayings were a “hate crime.”
Hunter told Fox News Digital Thursday that she had been informed last month that she was also being looked at in the case, and that authorities seized her phone.
But the break in the case came when police in an unspecified jurisdiction found Pinkusiewicz’s car and remains last week, according to law enforcement sources.
Authorities told Fox News Digital Thursday they were not yet ready to release the location but would do so once the investigation, which includes additional forensics on Pinkusiewicz’s 2007 Toyota Yaris hatchback, comes to a close.
With a suspect vehicle finally identified, Jensen also renewed his call for any potential witnesses to check photos and videos taken around the time of the murders to re-examine their images, and the sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information on Pinkusiewicz or the car to call them at (435) 259-8115.
The murders of Schulte and Turner rocked Moab, a crossroads city of roughly 5,000 that sees more than a million visitors pass through every year. They were killed just days after the traffic stop involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, whose altercation began at Schulte’s job, an organic grocer in the middle of town.
Deputies had investigated the possibility of a connection between Laundrie and the slayings but ruled him out early on. After his death, the FBI said he left a written confession to killing Petito in a journal recovered near his remains.