Cape Coral, FL

Young mom vanishes after a trip to the park: The suspicious disappearance of Lauren Dumolo

Fatim Hemraj

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Lauren Brittney DumoloComplicit Field

Lauren Dumolo lived in Cape Coral, Florida, with her off-and-on boyfriend Gabriel Pena. The 29-year-old worked two jobs to make ends meet. Lauren’s loved ones described her as a spiritual, compassionate woman who always had a smile on her face and would give the shirt off her back to anyone.

Lauren’s parents were divorced and she was raised by her father, Paul Dumolo in New York. She moved to Florida with her siblings in 2016 in an effort to build a relationship with their estranged mother. Lauren eventually moved in with her mother Laura and her stepfather, Victor.

It was through Victor she met Gabriel, a 40-year-old divorced father of two with a history of domestic violence. According to court records, he was charged with Battery in 2014 for assaulting his ex-wife while she was holding their infant child. After two years of dating, Gabriel and Lauren decided it was time to get their own place and rented an apartment just 2 blocks away.

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Gabriel and LaurenMissingpersoncenter.org

On June 19, 2020, at 11 pm, Gabriel called Paul and told him his daughter was missing. According to Complicit Podcast, he said he last saw Lauren at 6:00 am that morning when he left for work; he kissed her goodbye as she slept and when he returned at 10, she was nowhere to be found. Gabriel told Paul he had already filed a missing persons report, but when Paul, who was more than 1,100 miles away in New York, called Cape Coral Police, he quickly learned that was a lie.

Gabriel did eventually report Lauren missing — but not until Father’s Day 48 hours later, and only at Paul’s insistence. By then, vital time had been lost. That Sunday, Paul was expecting a call from his daughter, with whom he was incredibly close, but the call never came. It was the first time Lauren had missed their annual Father’s Day chat and it was at that moment Paul knew something just wasn’t right.

According to Lauren's loved ones, she started each day with an 8 am trip to Four Freedoms Park located just a 7-minute walk from her apartment. She often went there to meditate, wind down and relax. Two witnesses recalled walking past Lauren at 8:30 am on June 19. She was heading in the direction of her home from the park.

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Four Freedoms Park in Cape Coral, Florida where Lauren was last seenYouTube

According to authorities, a man stumbled upon Lauren’s purse, keys and shoes in the park on June 20 — her phone was nowhere to be found. A few days later, Gabriel moved out of their shared apartment. Using a spare key, Lauren’s sisters searched her home for any clues as to where she could have gone. They checked the entire apartment for Lauren’s phone but were unable to find it.

While there, Gabriel suddenly pulled up, claiming he was there to collect his television since Lauren, “obviously isn’t coming back.” When her sisters asked him about her phone, Gabriel mysteriously disappeared into the apartment. He returned with Lauren’s phone moments later and handed it over.

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Lauren lived at 4927 Coronado Parkway Apt #1 in Cape Coral, FloridaGoogle Maps

The last activity on Lauren’s phone was an unanswered video call to Gabriel at 10:30 am on the day she disappeared. He denied ever receiving the call.

On July 2, a shirt belonging to Lauren was found lying on the sand in the park. By this time, Four Freedoms had been searched extensively and Lauren’s loved ones insisted it wasn’t there before and had likely been planted.

Paul flew to Cape Coral and searched the park twice a day with his daughters; they handed out missing flyers, hired a private investigator and posted on social media, but found themselves no closer to the truth. A dive team was deployed but a search for Lauren’s remains proved to be fruitless.

According to ABC News, Lauren was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility twice during the month of her disappearance. On June 1, Cape Coral residents called the police after they witnessed Lauren acting bizarrely at Four Freedoms Park. When officers arrived, they found her swimming in the water. Lauren claimed she was trying to get away from someone who was chasing her.

Lauren was released on June 18. Having lost one of her jobs due to the pandemic and the other due to her absence, she spent the entire day looking for work. Lauren was captured on CCTV footage filling out application forms at a sandwich shop and a gas station near her apartment. What happened to her after that day, remains a mystery nearly a year and a half later.

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Lauren applying for a job at a gas station the day before her disappearanceNBC

Lauren was in a car accident when she was younger and subsequently became addicted to painkillers as a result. Paul feared his daughter’s erratic behaviour was due to drug use but she insisted she hadn’t relapsed and genuinely felt she was being followed. At the time of her disappearance, Lauren had been sober for two years. Her loved ones now believe she was met with foul play.

I don’t think she left on her own because she would’ve taken at least some clothes or her toothbrush or her makeup. I’m worried. I’m worried and scared. Not scared because I didn’t do anything, but I’m just worried something really did happen. So my thing is that she went out with one of her friends. Her friend got her all messed up on drugs, and I don’t know what after that. — Gabriel Pena

Gabriel claims he passed a polygraph but authorities refuse to release the test results or whether he is a suspect in Lauren’s disappearance.

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Lauren and her daughter, MikaylaComplicit Field

Lauren has a 6-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. According to The Charley Project, she was last seen wearing shorts and a t-shirt. She is 5'0" and weighed 110 lbs at the time of her disappearance. Lauren has “Namaste” tattooed along the right side of her torso, “NY” on her pelvis and rosary beads on one ankle. She has blonde hair and brown eyes.

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Lauren Dumolo, contact the Cape Coral Police Department at (239) 574–3223 or Crime Stoppers at 1–800–780-TIPS (8477). An $8,000 reward is available.

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