Cops ‘not ruling out’ potential link between Gabby Petito’s disappearance, Utah couple’s murder

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UPDATE: Deputies say there is no connection between the two cases.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA/ABC4) — Florida and Utah authorities are not ruling out a potential connection between the disappearance of Gabby Petito and the deaths of two women at a campground near Moab last month.

Petito was reported missing on Saturday. She last contacted her family around the end of August, when she was visiting Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, 23.

Laundrie returned to their North Port, Florida home alone on Sept. 1. He is considered a person of interest in the case, according to police.

Police said the couple was in Moab around the time of Aug. 12, about a month before Petito was reported missing. Body camera video released Thursday shows police pull over the couple at Arches National Park after a witness reported seeing them arguing and hitting each other. Police declined to file charges and separated the couple for the night.

Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Turner, 38, were last seen on Aug. 13, leaving a bar in Moab, where they both lived and worked. The two women were found shot to death on Aug. 18 near Moab in the South Mesa area of the La Sal Mountains.

Friends of the couple told police Schulte had texted them about a “creepy man” near their campsite who was intimidating them, according to a search warrant filed to search their vehicle. The report said Schulte told her friends that “if something happened to them, that they were murdered.”

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Schulte worked at the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, the same place where a witness reported seeing a physical altercation between Petito and Laundrie on Aug. 12. Although no evidence shows the two cases are connected, authorities aren’t ruling out a potential link between Petito’s disappearance and their deaths.

At a news conference Thursday, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said investigators “have communication going back and forth with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.”

“We provided them with whatever information we could,” Garrison said. “They don’t have any [murder] suspect information right now. … They told us that they’re looking at everything at this point.”

“We’re looking at everything. … We’re not ruling anything out at this time,” a spokesman for the Grand County Sheriff’s Office told Fox News, while discussing the two cases.

The sheriff’s office released the following statement on Thursday:

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 Grand County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate any information received concerning the double homicie. The Sheriff’s Office is not ruling anything out at this time and appreciate the concerns of the public and their willingness to contact this office with those concerns and information.”

-Grand County Sheriff’s Office

Schulte’s aunt, Bridget Calvert told the newspaper she learned of Petito’s disappearance from a friend and started comparing the two cases. She said the dates of their disappearance and Laundrie’s social media posts “align perfectly.” Calvert said she sent a timeline to the FBI but they have not responded.

The FBI is assisting the North Port Police in the investigation into Petito’s disappearance. They’re also assisting the Grand County Sheriff’s Office as they investigate the couple’s murder.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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