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The mother of high-profile murder victim Gabby Petito is highlighting, among others, the missing persons case of Dylan Rounds.
Schmidt’s daughter, 22-year-old Gabby Petito, was the subject of one of 2021’s most widely covered disappearances, ending when her remains were found at Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19, 2021, more than a month after she vanished.
Petito’s death was ruled homicide by strangulation.
Petito’s boyfriend and traveling partner, Brian Laundrie – who drew suspicion after returning to his Florida home without Petito – was found dead in October 2021. It was determined he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after confessing to Petito’s homicide in a notebook.
Around that time, Nichole Schmidt joined Twitter, describing herself as a “mom on a mission,” vowing that “the fight for change and prevention will never end.”
This week, using the hashtag #MissingPosterMonday, Schmidt retweeted the case of Dylan Rounds, who was 19 when he disappeared on May 28 from the remote ghost town of Lucin, Utah - part of Box Elder County in the northwestern part of the state, about 10 miles east of the Nevada state line.
In a phone call with his grandmother on the day of his disappearance, Rounds – described as a young man from Idaho whose life revolved around his crops – said he had to drive his grain truck back to a shed.
No one has heard from him since.
Relatives told reporters that days before Rounds disappeared, he allegedly came into contact with a barefoot stranger walking down a gravel road who appeared to be acting erratically.
It’s unclear if the “weird run-in” was related to police naming James Brenner, 59, as a suspect in the case.
Brenner was believed to be squatting near Rounds’ farm and was listed as a “family friend,” according to court documents reviewed by Fox News. A neighbor, listed only as “D.H.,” told authorities that Brenner asked them to hide three guns sometime after Rounds vanished. One of the guns, a rifle, had the serial number sanded off.
Rounds’ parents, Candace Cooley and Justin Rounds, told East Idaho News that after speaking to his grandmother, Rounds’ phone moved to Brenner’s trailer on an adjacent property before being tracing back to the missing man’s home.
Rounds’ phone was found at the bottom of a Lucin-area lake in June, though there’s been no sign of his whereabouts. Since then, loved ones and officials have conducted multiple searches in and around the numerous mines left abandoned in the area.
In October, addressing reporters about the case for the first time since June, Deputy Chief Cade Palmer of the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Department said there was “substantial evidence” that Rounds was met with foul play.
“James Brenner is our primary suspect at this time, lots of other names have been shared with us,” Palmer stated. “I can’t say that James is our only suspect. Others may come up in the course of the investigation.”
Palmer said they have a “fairly strong case based on forensic evidence” that Rounds was murdered, “but obviously the break in the case will be when we locate Dylan.”
Brenner remains in federal custody on the firearm charges and is currently serving time for a gun charge dating back to 2021.
He has not been charged in connection with Rounds’ disappearance.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Department at 1-435-723-5227 or email email@example.com. There is a $200,000 reward in place.
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