(ABC4) – After months of little to no progress announced in the investigation of a double homicide near Moab, an unsealed document shows that officials have identified a possible suspect.
The murders of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner, who were killed while camping in August, have yielded few answers until earlier this week. ABC4’s Marcos Ortiz reported on a possible suspect that investigators have had their eye on for a while. Although the unnamed man has not yet been arrested or charged, he has been the subject of a search warrant by police.
It’s a major break in the case which, up to now, has been a mystery. Although authorities appear to be inching towards bringing a responsible party to justice, there are many unsolved crimes in Utah — including missing persons and homicides — waiting to be solved.
According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, there are over 400 cold cases (cases that remain unsolved or any unsolved homicide) throughout the state. A recent bill required all state law enforcement agencies to submit their cold cases into a publicly available database online which provides a photo, date of the crime, and a simple summary of the incident and any progress being made.
Here are some of the most notable cold cases in the state right now:
Kathy Harmon – case cold since 1976
Joy Kathleen “Kathy” Jones Harmon was out with a friend at the now nonexistent Better Days Bar on State Street when she headed for home, leaving alone, around midnight on March 2, 1976. That was the last time the 22-year-old was seen alive. After she didn’t show up for work, her parents reported her missing, and her body was found between Emigration and Parley’s Canyon on March 6. It’s unclear how she got here, because — after discovering the coat she was wearing that night at her home — investigators believe she made it back from the bar.
Nancy Wilcox – case cold since 1974
While it’s believed that Nancy Wilcox fell victim to one of the most notorious serial killers in U.S. history, her body has never been found, and the case remains open to this day. Before his execution in 1989, Ted Bundy admitted responsibility to Wilcox’s disappearance in Oct. 1974, saying he had left her remains four hours south of her home in Salt Lake City, somewhere around Capital Reef National Park. However, he was unable to pinpoint the exact location of where he allegedly left the 16-year-old’s body, thus leaving his confession unverifiable. Wilcox has never been found.
Bertha Larsen Hughes – case cold since 1982
One in a string of murders involving elderly women in the area in the 1980s, there has never been an arrest made for the death of 81-year-old Bertha Hughes. She lived near 3400 S and 500 E and was known for looking out her living room window throughout the day. Upon arriving to the home on March 18, 1982, a visiting nurse noticed that the curtains looked a bit different than usual. Hughes was found inside with multiple blunt force trauma wounds. Witnesses would say they heard yelling and commotion from the home the night before she was discovered, but the subsequent investigation has been unsuccessful.
Jason Jack Simmons – case cold since 1994
Known as “Red” due to his long, flowing red hair, Simmons has been missing since April 1994. After failing to show up in court and having an arrest issued in his name, Simmons went missing. His family believes he may have been met with foul play due to his history of drug use. Not long before he went missing, Simmons was hospitalized and suffered memory loss after being struck in the head with a hammer. Private investigators have worked to find answers as to his disappearance, one sleuth recently followed a tip that he was killed in Box Elder County, but nothing was found, even after cadaver dogs searched the area.
Rosie Tapia – case cold since 1995
Between the hours of 2 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. on Aug. 13, 1995, 6-year-old Rosie Tapia was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City. Her body was found later that morning floating in a surplus canal near her family’s apartment complex. The screen missing from the window of the bedroom that Tapia and her sister shared was a clear sign of a kidnapping, but many questions remain. One witness claimed to see a young man in wet clothing leaving the canal that morning. Ortiz and ABC4 arranged for a forensic sketch artist to produce a drawing of the person to aid in the investigation in 2019, but it has yet to produce a person of interest or a suspect.
Susan Powell – case cold since 2009
One of the most high-profile unsolved crimes in state history, Susan Powell’s disappearance remains unsolved. And it very well may never be — at least until she or her remains are found. It is widely believed that her husband, Josh Powell had involvement in her disappearance when the case grabbed national attention in 2009. However, he killed himself and the couple’s two sons in a fiery house explosion in Washington in 2012, taking his secrets to the grave. Some believe his brother, Michael, had a role in whatever happened to Susan as well, but he also committed suicide in 2013. A popular theory is that Susan’s remains may be in one of Utah’s thousands of abandoned mines and a local crew of volunteers is hopeful that their search will produce something substantial.
Cody Lynn Dodge – case cold since 2008
26-year-old Cody Dodge was found murdered at his home in West Valley City on Sept. 22, 2008, killed in what his family considers to be an execution. Since many of his possessions, including money, jewelry, other property, were left untouched it seems unlikely that Dodge was killed in a robbery or burglary that went wrong. There were also no signs of forced entry, leading police to believe that Dodge’s killer was someone he knew. Other than that, the trail has gone cold.
Elizabeth Salgado – case cold since 2015, 2018
It took three years for officials to locate the remains of 26-year-old Elizabeth Salgado, who went missing in Provo after moving to Utah County from Mexico in 2015. She spoke little English and was studying at the Nomen Global Language Center, having served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After her remains were found and her case was elevated from a missing person to a homicide, the search for answers has continued. Since it is believed that since she vanished in broad daylight and there were no reports of a disturbance in the area, Salgado may have been killed by someone she was familiar with.
Sherry Black – case cold since 2010
The murder of Sherry Black, the bookstore owner who was found dead in her own store, could be close to its conclusion more than 11 years after her murder. Black — stabbed to death — was discovered by her husband inside of B&W Billards and Books on Nov. 30, 2010. She was the mother-in-law of former Larry H. Miller Group CEO Greg Miller, propelling one of Utah’s most prominent families into the case. Soon into the investigation, the Millers offered a $250,000 reward for any information leading to the killer’s arrest. However, in October 2020 investigators announced they had arrested and charged 30-year-old Adam Durborow for the killing, who pled guilty to the crime. However, for whatever reason, Black’s case is still listed as cold, suggesting there may still be some loose ends remaining.
Anthony Adams – case cold since 1978
Investigators believe that several of 25-year-old Anthony Adams’ personal characteristics may have contributed to his fatal stabbing in Nov. 1978 and lack of justice since. At a time when racial, cultural, and sexual differences may not have been embraced by most of conservative Utah, Adams was described as a gay Black man with Socialist political tendencies. Due to these traits, and perhaps a less-tolerant mindset of the era, some believe that Adams’ murder, which took place in his own home, was not treated with much regard by local officials. Some reports show that a good deal of evidence, including the possible murder weapon, may have been misplaced or lost. No one has ever been charged for the homicide, even after more than four decades.