The search for a 30-year-old father who vanished in late July after acting strangely has expanded beyond the Salt Lake City area, according to the missing man’s family.
Investigators have said Paul Heiner Swenson made little sense when he spoke to relatives hours before disappearing on July 27. He was reported missing later that day by his wife, Ashlee Swenson, who runs a popular style and design blog that also chronicles her life as a new mother to their young daughter.
Paul was last seen leaving his home in American Fork, Utah, and told family members he had an appointment in Salt Lake City, about 30 minutes away. But American Fork police believe he never made it. His car, a black 2016 BMW X6, was found the next morning “under suspicious circumstances” near an elementary school in Salt Lake’s Glendale neighborhood, authorities said.
A message from Swenson’s relatives, posted to Facebook, claims the search has gone nationwide.
“Nothing prepares you for having a loved one go missing,” reads a message posted to a Facebook page dedicated to finding Swenson. “Paul is a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. We love him deeply. His health and safety, and that of his young family, is our sole focus. These are not normal times for our family.”
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The post says the family is “adjusting volunteer efforts as the focus of our search changes,” noting “we have shifted from daily searches out of Salt Lake City to a nationwide scope as investigators continue to follow various leads.”
Swenson’s relatives say they are “deeply grateful for each one of you who has searched, prayed, shared, and kept faith and hope in your hearts for a good outcome for Paul and our family. We are also full of gratitude for your ongoing support as the search continues knowing we aren’t alone in this difficult time.”
The Swenson family believes “Paul is alive and will come home to us safely,” another Facebook post states. “The search continues. … This is an active investigation. Law enforcement and investigators are exploring all likely scenarios and we have confidence in our team.”
Police officials confirm they are still receiving tips about Swenson’s disappearance.
Paul is white and has red hair, hazel eyes and a half-sleeve of tattoos on his right arm. He stands 6 feet tall, weighs 190 lbs. and was last seen wearing a heather-gray short sleeve shirt, black jeans and black Converse shoes.
Ashlee and Paul’s family could not be reached by PEOPLE for comment.
Last week, Ashlee posted an update about the case on Instagram, writing, “As you might imagine it’s been a roller coaster week in our search for Paul. Emotions are high and we are just trying to survive. … Like so many of you, I am searching for answers about Paul’s disappearance. I am searching for anything that could reveal what has happened to my husband.”
Investigators are asking anyone with any information about the case to call the Utah County Sheriff’s Office at 801-794-3970.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help fund continuing search efforts. Funds raised with also go to Swenson’s wife and daughter.