Police and volunteers have spent more than a week searching the Salt Lake City area for a 30-year-old father who vanished nine days ago

By Chris Harris
August 04, 2017 03:22 PM

Police and volunteers have spent more than a week searching the Salt Lake City area for a 30-year-old father who vanished nine days ago after acting strangely, PEOPLE confirms.

According to investigators, 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 style and design blog also chronicling her life as a new mother to their young daughter.

Ashlee has used her Internet presence, including more than 45,000 Instagram followers, to amplify the story of her husband’s disappearance. “We need help!” she wrote on July 28 alongside a missing-persons flyer for Paul.

He was last seen leaving his home in American Fork, Utah, and told family members he had an appointment in Salt Lake, 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.

Inside the vehicle, police found several items they contend belong to someone else.

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.

“We’re very concerned for him and his safety, so we’re taking it very seriously,” American Fork Police Sgt. Josh Christensen told the Deseret News.

While police noted that Paul does not have a history of mental health problems, according to the News, Christensen said: “He may still be going through some type of mental health crisis or something similar. He may not be in his right state of mind.”

“It’s why we’re continuing to push forward as much as we are,” Christensen said, according to local TV station KSL.

Before Paul’s cell phone turned off Thursday night, police said they were able to track it to Millcreek, Utah, just southeast of Salt Lake, the News reports.

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Ashlee Swenson posted a recent video message to Facebook, thanking well-wishers for their prayers.

“I want him to know that wherever he is, whatever happened, we’re here and we have so much love and support,” she said. “He’s such a light in our lives and he brings so much happiness in our world.”

Two Facebook groups — Find Paul Swenson and Bring Paul Home — have been launched to help locate him. Authorities have been unable to track his phone since Friday and believe it is powered off.

Ashlee and Paul’s family could not be reached for comment on Friday.

On Thursday, she 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.”

“We have all offered anything we can think of to law enforcement,” Ashlee continued. “The investigators are working hard and have asked us to be patient as they do their job. This is the hard part.”

In an earlier Instagram post, on Tuesday, Ashlee shared a photo of her and her daughter with Paul, writing, “We miss you, we love you, we want you home.

“You never think something like this will happen to you until it does. I keep hoping I’m going to wake up from this nightmare.”

Investigators are asking anyone with any information about the case to call the Utah County Sheriff’s Office at 801-794-3970.