Search for Gabby Petito: Police investigated incident involving missing woman, fiancé before her disappearance

Sarasota County

Sept. 15 update: Police have now named Gabby Petito’s fiancé a ‘person of interest’ in her disappearance.

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — Police investigated a matter involving a missing North Port woman and her fiancé before her mysterious disappearance, News Channel 8 has learned.

Family members say Gabby Petito disappeared on a cross-country trip with her fiancé. The 22-year-old was last known to be in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. Her family said she and her fiancé had set off on a cross-country trip in July and her fiancé came back without her.

The Moab City Police Department in Utah told News Nation they responded to an incident involving Petito and her fiancé on Aug. 12, but neither Petito nor her fiancé had reported the incident.

“Officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges,” the department said, but did not disclose any further details. News Channel 8 has reached out to the department for more information.

Petito’s father, Joseph and stepmom Tara said they last spoke to her on Aug. 21 via FaceTime while she was in Utah.

Joseph said he saw no red flags or reason to worry about his daughter, but became concerned after not hearing from Gabby for three weeks.

“To me in my head right now her phone’s dead, broken, lost, taken, whatever. She’s wandering the woods, can’t find her bearing. It happens all the time and that’s what I’m going with until I’m told otherwise,” Joseph said.

Police in North Port tell 8 On Your Side no crime has been reported and classified the disappearance as a missing person’s case. They said they want to know why Petito’s fiancé returned to his parents’ home without Gabby. The couple reportedly moved into the home two years ago. When detectives tried to interview the fiancé, they said the parents gave them contact information for their attorney who is based in New York.

“I think most people would think that this individual might have some details as to the last time he saw her, her whereabouts. Yeah, I think it has not been helpful that we have not been able to talk to him,” said North Port Police Department spokesman Josh Taylor.

Police now have possession of the van the couple was driving during their trip, which was found in the fiancé’s driveway.

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