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Text messages, mental health concerns shed light on Gabby Petito's final days

Source: FBI

Sep. 21 2021, Published 2:58 p.m. ET

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An odd text and mental health concerns shed some light on Gabby Petito’s final days, according to a search warrant filed by police investigating the case.

The warrant was related to a hard drive kept in a van the couple used and police seized during the investigation.

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Petito was reported missing by her family in Florida on Sept. 11. She was on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. He returned and she didn’t. The news of her disappearance became international news as people tried to find Petito.

Her last known location in early September was in a national park in Wyoming.

On Sept. 19, FBI investigators confirmed they found remains they believed to be Petito. Police named Laundrie as a person of interest in the case, though he went missing after being named. On Sept. 20, FBI and local police raided his parents’ home looking for evidence connected to the case.

The recently released search warrant for the hard drive helps provide some details on what happened in Petito’s final days.

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On Aug. 27, Petito’s mom got a text from her daughter that red “can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls,” according to the warrant. “Stan” is her grandfather, but Petito’s mom said Gabby never called him by his name.

“The mother was concerned that something was wrong with her daughter,” the warrant read.

That comes on the heels of an early August report from the Moab City police in Utah regarding a domestic disturbance between Laundrie and Petito. Police wrote in that report they believed the issue was more a mental health crisis, than a domestic violence crime. Officers said they believed Petito was having a “severe case of anxiety” in that incident.

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Laundrie also told Moab police he was concerned about Petito because her anxiety had worsened during the trip.

After the text messages on Aug. 27, no family had no communication with Petito, according to the search warrant. Her cell phone stopped working and she didn’t post on social media about the trip, according to the warrant.

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“Per the family, this was not normal behavior for [Petito] and they became more worried about her,” the warrant stated.

As police investigated Petito’s disappearance, officers noted she was not at Laundrie’s family home and his family said they did not know her location. The family refused to let Brian Laundrie speak to police and told officers to speak to their attorney.

Police wrote the mental health concerns led to concerns for her welfare and their investigation. On Sept. 14, they used a search warrant to search the van and found the hard drive. In the most recent search warrant, police wanted permission to go through that drive.


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