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Boyfriend of woman who disappeared in Utah has home visited by police in Florida

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Posted at 1:22 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 16:37:11-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Police in Florida were seen dropping off a pink envelope at the home of missing woman Gabby Petito‘s boyfriend — as authorities say they’re preparing for the possibility that something "sinister" has happened to her.

Petito, 22, was last physically seen in Salt Lake City at a motel and later in Ogden, Utah, on her Instagram page on August 25. She later checked in with her mom by phone at Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. Petito was on a cross-country road trip in a converted van with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who has since returned to his home in North Port, Florida, along with the van.

Laundrie has not been cooperating with the police and has retained a lawyer.

Gabby’s family said they became concerned about her whereabouts after several days since she last contacted her mother on Aug. 25.

At first, they figured she was out of cellphone range, but after several days passed, Gabby's family became worried. On Saturday, they officially reported her missing.

According to her Instagram posts, Gabrielle and her boyfriend spent several weeks in Utah, visiting Mystic Hot Springs, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park.

"We walked just a little past the arch where the rock is at such an angle, it appears impossible to walk on, but being such experienced hikers, I had confidence that I could make it!" her post read, in part. "Many people who spotted us were contemplating how we made it here, shouting things like ‘wow you guys must be crazy!’"

Gabrielle's most recent Instagram post was made on August 25 in front of a mural called "The Monarch" in Ogden, Utah.

FOX News reported that cops dropped off an envelope outside Laundrie’s Florida home Tuesday.

North Port police said they attempted to talk to Laundrie but were told to leave by his parents, who put them in touch with his attorney.

North Port police spokesperson Josh Taylor said they are not ruling anything out, including that Gabrielle may not want to be found.

"We're hopeful that she's out there somewhere. People sometimes don't want to communicate, so that's certainly still a viable option," Taylor said. "But we have to prepare for something maybe more sinister."

Later on Tuesday, according to the local FOX affiliate in New York, Laundrie's family issued a statement through his lawyer.

"This is an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family," it read.

"I understand that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family.

"On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment."

Meanwhile, police have seized the converted van the couple had been traveling in from his home.

Fox News reported, the FBI was processing the van, looking for clues to Gabby's whereabouts but had not found any obvious signs of foul play.

Gabby's father told news outlets that he would do "anything to find her" as he pleaded for help to find his "amazing" daughter.

"We still don't know where she is. Pride isn't an issue right now. My only daughter is missing," Joseph Petito said Monday. "I'm going to do anything I can. The family, Gabby's mom, we're going to do anything we can to find her."

At a news conference in New York, Gabby's mother expressed her worry.

"I just believe she’s in danger because she’s not in touch with us," Gabby's mom, Nicole Schmidt, said Monday. "She could be alone somewhere. She could be stranded somewhere in the wilderness, and she needs help."

"I believe a mother’s instinct is the most powerful," Schmidt said. "I believe she’s going to come home."

Gabrielle is described as 5 feet, 5 inches tall, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She has a triangle tattoo with flowers on her left arm and a "Let It Be" tattoo on her right arm.

Her family is asking for people to help look for her. Her mom said she could be stranded in the wilderness. They're hoping more people will share her story and picture to get the word out.

Detectives from the Suffolk County Police Department in New York, Petito's hometown, are leading the investigation into her disappearance. Anyone who has a tip about the case to submit to the Suffolk County Police Department may do so by calling 1-800-220-8477.

North Port PD says anyone who might have information about the case is asked to 941-429-7382.

The FBI Tampa Field Office is also assisting the investigation. You can also call 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit tips to tips.fbi.gov.

Jack Helean at KSTU first reported this story.