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Private investigator says information in case of missing woman should come fast

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A private investigator said the camper van Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie were driving is unique and memorable to those who may have seen them before she disappeared. (File photo)

As the search for Gabby Petito continues, private investigators in Utah offer insight into what challenges the search might face, and how people can help.

Jason Jensen is a private investigator, and co-founder of the Utah Cold Case Coalition.

“Not only are we interested in solving cold cases, but prevention as well,” Jensen said. “When things like this come up, and you can just see some of the telltale signs that if they’re not addressed early on, it will turn into a cold case."

Jensen says certain factors help narrow down a timeline for when Petito went missing.

“We know that her pattern substantially changed as identified by her family on the 25th of August. That’s when they noticed something was wrong, because Gabby wasn’t her usual self where she would communicate with the family on a regular basis."

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He said with Petito and her boyfriend traveling throughout the country, her connectivity can help narrow down where to look.

"If this case was you know thirty years ago, where you didn’t have your digital footprint as your cellphone, or your onboard computer on your car, you wouldn’t know where to begin to look because they’ve been all over Utah, Wyoming, Colorado," Jensen said.

Police said in a news conference Thursday they are trying to narrow down geographic areas for searches. Jensen says the public can help by coming forward about when and where they saw the couple.

“The camper that they had is unique” Jensen said. “If you saw it, if you were camping next to that person, you would remember that camper very well. So they’re hoping that others will come forward that can place them at certain locations when they were together, when they were fine."

Petito’s last social media post was in Ogden, Jensen said that could help narrow down where to look.

“That would mean somewhere between Ogden and the Grand Tetons is where I would want to look and that’s where I would want the public’s assistance is between Ogden and the Grand Tetons."

He Jensen said it’s important to get that information fast.

“While it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind, they want people to come forward now because I still remember what I did last Tuesday. Three years from now I wouldn’t."