Text messages sent by Gabby Petito to her mother in the days before her disappearance showed growing strain between her and Brian Laundrie, a police search warrant has revealed.
ichole Schmidt’s suspicions were further raised when she received a final “odd text” in which Ms Petito mentioned her grandfather by his first name “Stan” on August 27, the warrant stated.
“Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls,” the text said, according to the warrant.
Ms Schmidt said the text was concerning because her daughter never called her grandfather by his first name.
“The mother was concerned something was wrong with her daughter,” the warrant said, and provided “probable cause” that a felony crime had been committed.
The warrant states that Ms Petito’s phone was switched off on August 31 or September 1.
Ms Schmidt had previously told media she received a final text message from her daughter on August 30 which she believed to have been faked.
Police confiscated the Ford Transit van that the couple had been travelling in on September 11. They located an external hard drive in the van, and three days later on September 14 were granted a search warrant to examine the drive.
Police stated that they wanted to locate “any and all” external storage devices from the Laundrie family home, as well as retrieving emails, text messages and internet browsing history from devices.
Florida police and FBI agents swarmed the Laundrie family home on Monday as they executed a search warrant.
Officers with battering rams and body armour arrived at the home in North Port around 9.45am and declared the site a “crime scene”.
Mr Laundrie’s parents Christopher and Roberta were removed from the property as the search went room to room hunting for clues as to Mr Laundrie’s location.
The search warrant was written by Daniel Alix, a detective with the North Port Police Department, and filed on Friday with Florida’s 12th Judicial Circuit Court.
It also cited an altercation between the couple in Moab, Utah, on August 12, as an additional reason to be concerned for Ms Petito’s safety.
In audio of a 911 call released on Monday, a witness reported seeing Mr Laundrie hit and slap Ms Petito.
Police pulled over the couple’s Ford Transit van soon after receiving the 911 call, but the incident was not deemed serious enough to press charges.
The timeline presented in the search warrant also stated concerns related to Ms Petito’s mental health, and that she may not be able to take care of herself due to “her increased anxiety”.
The warrant refers to Ms Petito by her full name, Gabrielle Venora Petito, and lists her date of birth as 19 March 1999.
Human remains believed to belong to Ms Petito were discovered in a remote part of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sunday.
An autopsy is expected to be completed today.
Meanwhile, A National Parks Service ranger who responded to a possible domestic incident between Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie in Utah last month warned her to “reevaluate the relationship”.
Melissa Hulls, a visitor and resource protection supervisor at Arches National Park, said she told “van-life” blogger Ms Petito, 22, that the relationship appeared “toxic” after she found her sobbing in the back of a police vehicle.
Ms Hulls told Deseret News she approached Ms Petito on August 12 after the couple were pulled over by a police officer inside the park.
“I was asking her if she was happy in the relationship with him, and basically saying this was an opportunity for her to find another path, to make a change in her life,” Ms Hulls said.
“She had a lot of anxiety about being away from him, I honestly thought if anything was going to change it would be after they got home to Florida.”
Prior to Ms Hulls’ interaction with Ms Petito, a 911 caller had reported seeing a man “slapping” a girl in the face, according to audio released by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and obtained by Fox News. The audio of the call portrays Mr Laundrie as the aggressor in the incident.
Police did not file charges and Mr Laundrie was sent to a hotel for the night, while Ms Petito stayed in the van. The incident was later classified by police as a “mental/emotional health break”.
“This wasn’t a good day for anybody. We thought we were making the right decision when we left them,” Ms Hulls continued.
“I wouldn’t have called (the relationship) unsafe. If we had any reason to think any one of them was in danger, we would’ve separated them.”
In body cam footage shared by the Moab City Police Department, Ms Petito is heard telling an officer: “I just quit my job to travel across the country, and I’m trying to start a blog, a travel blog, so I’ve been building my website.
“I’ve been really stressed, and he doesn’t really believe that I can do any of it… so that’s kind of been like… he’s like a downer.”
Ms Hulls said she had also worn a body camera but had decided not to look over the footage.
“It’s hard not to second-guess myself, and wish I said more, or wish I had found the right words to make her believe that she deserved more,” she added.