Gabby Petito: Utah double-homicide ‘not related’ to YouTuber’s disappearance, police say

Crystal Turner, 38, and Kylen Schulte, 24, were killed near one of Gabby Petito’s last known locations

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Saturday 18 September 2021 00:10
Sister of Brian Laundrie speaks of her family's 'love' for missing Gabbie Petito

Police in Utah have determined that YouTuber Gabby Petito’s disappearance is not related to a recent double-homicide that occurred near one of Ms Petito’s last known locations.

“It has been determined that the Gabby Petito missing person case is not related to the double-homicide case involving Chrystal Turner and Kylen Schulte,” the Grand County Sheriff said in a statement.

Ms Turner, 38, and Ms Schulte, 24, were found dead in mid-August near their campsite in the La Sal Mountains.

Ms Petito last spoke with her family at the end of August, two weeks after police in the nearby Moab, Utah, area stopped her and her fiancé Brian Laundrie over concerns about a potential domestic violence incident. They were separated over night but no charges were filed, according to police records.

Previously, Utah police had been exploring a potential connection between the two cases.

“We’re looking at everything, I mean, anything and everything that was suspicious around that time or we’re not ruling anything out at this time,” the sheriff’s office said earlier this week. “So we’re just investigating the information as it comes in.”

After the couple left Utah, Ms Petito’s whereabouts remain a mystery. Mr Laundrie returned home to Florida without her, driving the van the couple used for the cross-country voyage.

Ms Petito’s family has expressed doubt that her final text message – “No service in Yosemite” – is true, given that the couple was likely still hundreds of miles away from Northern California when it was sent.Police across multiple jurisdictions in Florida, Utah, and beyond are involved in the investigation, and the FBI is assisting with forensics.

Investigators have seized the pair’s converted van used on the trip, and are scouring digital records for more information. Police have not identified any evidence of a crime.

Police have received more than 1,000 tips related to the investigation, and were reportedly inside of Mr Laundrie’s home on Friday. So far, he has refused to assist investigators with locating Ms Petito’s disappearance and hasn’t spoken publicly about the case. Officials have spoken to a TikTok “witness” who claims she gave a ride to Gabby Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, by himself.

Police in Florida say they spoke to a woman who claims she and her own boyfriend picked up Mr Laundrie in Grand Teton National Park on 29 August, who was hitch-hiking alone.

As the investigation continues, conspiracy theories have flourished online, such as that Gabby Petito could’ve disappeared or been harmed inside a “Zone of Death” in Yellowstone National Park, a strip of uninhabited land under federal jurisdiction where some have argued it would be difficult to prosecute crimes committed.