Update: Investigators ‘looking into any connection’ between Gabby Petito’s disappearance, couple’s murder outside Moab

Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito are shown during a stop by Moab Police following a domestic violence report by a witness. Images: Moab Police

WYOMING, Sept. 17, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Law enforcement agencies working on the case of missing 22-year-old Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito say they will explore any possible connection between Petito’s disappearance and the murder of a married couple outside Moab in mid August.

“The Grand County Sheriff’s Office has been in contact with Florida authorities and we are actively looking into any connection between the Gabby Petito missing person case and the double homicide that occurred in Grand County,” the sheriff’s office announced Thursday.

“The Sheriff’s Office is not ruling anything out at this time, and appreciates the concerns of the public and their willingness to contact the office with those concerns and information.”

Investigators believe Petito last communicated with her family August 25, saying she was  headed for Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

Gabrielle Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie. Image: YouTube/VAN LIFE | Beginning Our Van Life Journey

Days later, on Sept. 1, Petito’s boyfriend, and traveling companion, Brian Laundrie, showed up at his parent’s house, in Florida, where the couple lived. He was driving Petito’s van and was alone.

Laundrie’s family hired an attorney and is refusing to cooperate with police. He has since been named a person of interest in the case.

The Moab Police Department confirmed its officers stopped the couple during a traffic stop in August after a witness reported a possible instance of domestic abuse. Police released body-cam video of Petito’s and Laundrie’s field interviews after their van was pulled over. She told officers she had become agitated after Laundrie tried to lock her out of the van until she calmed down. Petito thought she was going to be left behind, she said, and inflicted minor injuries on Laundrie. Neither wanted to press charges.

While the deputies decided not to file criminal charges they ordered the couple to accept counseling services which would force them to separate for a day.

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office in the meantime continues its murder investigation into the murder of married couple Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner who were found partially clothed and shot to death in a creek near their Moab campsite on Aug. 18. They had told friends they were being watched at their camp by a “creepy” man.

L-R, Crystal Turner (also known as Crystal Beck) and Kylen Schulte. Photo: Facebook/Justice for Kylen and Crystal

The FBI’s Denver office tweeted about its agents’ involvement in the investigation Thursday:

“The #FBI is working with our partners in the Teton County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson Police Department, the @NatlParkService and other state & local law enforcement agencies across the country in the investigation of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito’s disappearance.”

Other agencies involved in the investigation now include the Suffolk County Police Department in New York City’s Long Island, where Petito’s parents live, and Florida’s North Port Police Department.

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