Wasatch County death is far from being solved

Published: Friday, Feb. 16 1996 12:00 a.m. MST

Krystal Lynn Beslanowitch was a teenager who was forced to grow up fast.

Her father drowned when she was 4. Those who knew her say she was prostituting by the time she was 15. At 17, she was dead.Killed along the banks of the Provo River Dec. 15, Beslanowitch's death has not been solved or linked to other unsolved murders of young Utah women.

Wasatch County Sheriff Mike Spanos said 30 people have been interviewed - some even underwent polygraph tests - but the case is far from being solved.

Beslanowitch's body was found in an area known as North Field, her head badly beaten with rocks. Her boyfriend reported her missing two days after she failed to return from a late-night trip to a Salt Lake convenience store.

Krystal's mother, Linde Toreson, said from Spokane, Wash., that she loved her daughter and kept her door open to her after she got involved in drugs and prostitution.

"Every time she came home she had her arms spread out wide and a big smile on her face. I never refused her. I always loved her," Toreson said. "Whatever she was doing (she thought) was more important than living a normal life."

Toreson said her daughter was a bright girl who had dreams of being a writer before she started running with a tough crowd at a Spokane Junior High.

She and her boyfriend left Spokane in late August to visit his relatives in Utah. Krystal was looking forward to getting away from Spokane, where she had been arrested for theft, prostitution, assault and drugs as a juvenile.

Rather than a new beginning, Salt Lake City brought more prostitution and hard living.

Toreson buried the youngest of her three children in Spokane's Greenwood Cemetery three weeks after her death. She bought a wig for her daughter's smashed and shaved head and a teddy bear for her coffin.

"She might have been streetwise, but she always liked stuffed animals," Toreson said tearfully. "I really do miss her. I have always missed her, but now that I have buried her, she's not coming back."

Finding who killed her daughter weighs heavily on Toreson. After seeing her daughter's smashed skull, she calls the perpetrator "sick in the head."

Investigating the death of Krystal Beslanowitch, however, has not been easy.

The investigation has centered almost entirely in Salt Lake City, where most of the case's leads have surfaced.

"We've been talking to the culture down there on North Temple with her companion ladies of the night and got names and addresses from them," Spanos said. "We've interviewed everybody she's been in contact with."

Similarities were checked between Beslanowitch's death and that of the unsolved murder of a Salt Lake prostitute in November. The cases did not come "to any central point" and were probably not related, Spanos said.

Jeff Beslanowitch was not the girl's father, although he was married to her mother, Linde, for six months in the mid '70s. He raised her and Linde's daughter, Tracy, after he divorced Linde in 1977.

Krystal was using her half-sister's identification when her body was found.

Beslanowitch said the 17-year-old was using it to appear older - Tracy is 20 - after she came to Salt Lake City.

"I guess it's too late to say what went on there," Jeff Beslanowitch said from a Spokane suburb. "My girl at least had a chance."

It was lack of supervision that Jeff Beslanowitch blames for Krystal's short and tragic life.

The case is still open and remains under investigation.

"A hundred leads and nothing has developed into anything," Spanos said. "We're needing a break."

Anyone with information about the death of Krystal Beslanowitch should call the Wasatch County Sheriff's Office at 654-1411.

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