Gabby Petito investigation: North Port police search warrant provides new details

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A September 15 North Port Police Department search warrant gives new details on the timeline of events surrounding the missing persons case of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old woman who has not been seen since the end of August.

The search warrant was signed to allow North Port Police Department detectives to examine an external hard drive currently located in the North Port Police Department evidence locker. On September 17, Brian Laundrie, Petito’s fiancé, was reported missing and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents removed items from the house to help search for him.

In the warrant, the police were authorized to search “any external storage device (s), commercial software and hardware, computer disks, disk drives, tape drives, disk application programs, data disks, system disk operating systems, e-mail, system storage devices, hard disk and tape systems and other computer-related operating equipment, in addition to computer photographs, graphics interchange formats and / or photographs, or other visual representations. “

In addition, the warrant gives the police access to any digital documents, notes, passwords, encryption or data security devices that could prevent them from accessing hardware, software or data on the devices, as well as all data and files associated with the external device. .

This includes data files, password protected files, images, texts, files that display emails, text messages and internet browsing history as well as computer files showing who owned, owned or used the computers, and storage devices to include, but not limited to, emailing associated files.

The warrant indicated that there was a probable cause of deliverance due to the fact that the article potentially contained evidence that a crime had been committed. In the affidavit submitted by North Port detectives, a timeline of Petito and Laundrie’s journey and the video trip they made together on social media platforms was detailed.

The timeline the detectives wrote for the search warrant covers a series of messages between Petito and his family, including “strange” messages to his mother received on August 27, and a report that the van was detected by a reader. number plate on the Sumter. Boulevard exit from I-75. The timeline indicates that “a white Ford Transit, bearing the Florida tag QFTG03… entered the city of North Port” on September 1 at 10:26 am.

Petito was officially declared missing by Suffolk County Police in New York on September 11, following reports from the City of Moab Police after a domestic issue between Petito and Laundrie while in Moab, in Utah. This incident happened on August 12.

Moab police reports noted concerns about Petito and Laundrie’s mental health at the time, particularly that of Petito. Body camera images released during the search for Petito showed a high level of anxiety, noted in the Moab Police report.

These concerns prompted the Suffolk County PD to note that, based on the Moab Police report, Petito appeared “in danger, due to mental health issues.”

The timeline also indicated that due to the circumstances surrounding Petito’s mental health, North Port Police believe there is a probable cause that she is not able to take care of herself due to of “her heightened anxiety” and that concerns for her well-being had become “a level requirement.”

Petito’s cell phone was turned off for about 15 days, and lasted around August 31 or September 1. Petito had not been seen since August 27. On September 14, police executed a search warrant for the van she and Laundrie had. had traveled.

Inside the vehicle, crime scene technicians found the external hard drive at the center of the September 15 search warrant. Police believe the storage device may contain “viable digital forensic data” that could aid them in their investigation.

On September 19, a body was found near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming that matched Petito’s description. At a press conference, FBI officials announced the discovery and expressed their condolences to the Petito and Schmidt family. North Port Police also posted a message on Twitter that they were “saddened and heartbroken to learn that Gabby was found dead.”

Today, FBI agents were again at Laundrie’s home to execute a search warrant related to the Petito investigation.

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