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Witnesses report seeing car like Fargo murder victim's hauled away by truck

Police are searching for Gattuso's 1999 Porsche Boxster. It has personalized North Dakota license plates 2KRYSIS. Special to The Forum

A silver Porsche like the one owned by Philip Gattuso was hauled away from his neighborhood by truck on Monday morning, hours before he was found slain in his ransacked home in south Fargo.

Police are asking for help finding what two witnesses say they saw about 11:30 a.m. Monday: a mid- to late-1990s GMC or Chevrolet pickup, dark or black in color with a vinyl box cover. The truck was seen pulling a silver Porsche Boxster on a flatbed trailer.

"We're really looking for people that saw that combination," Capt. Tod Dahle said.

The witnesses said the truck was hauling a car matching the description of the one missing from Gattuso's garage as it drove away from the area near 26th Avenue South and South University Drive, a block south of where the periodontist's bloodied body was found in his home Monday night.

Dahle said investigators' initial suspicion is that the car was driven away from the 12-unit complex where Gattuso lived, Upper 9 Condominium Court at 2536 S. University Drive.

"We're hoping this will trigger different memories from the public," he said.

Police already thought the Porsche was important to solving the case, but the new information seems to indicate someone came to Gattuso's house with taking the car in mind.

"It certainly points you in that direction," Dahle said.

Dahle said the witnesses did not see the distinctive personalized North Dakota license plates on Gattuso's 1999 Boxster convertible, which read 2KRYSIS. Nor did they see the plates on the truck or see how many people were in the cab.

Surveillance cameras in the area are being checked to see if any have footage of the truck hauling the car.

Preliminary results of an autopsy done on Gattuso on Wednesday confirm that he died of a head injury, as police suspected.

Dahle wouldn't comment on whether police have an idea of how the injury was caused, including whether a weapon was involved.

After being called by a neighbor who discovered Gattuso's body when he did not pick up his 3-year-old daughter from day care on Monday, officers found him dead after arriving at 7:47 p.m.

Gattuso's condo was in disarray, with drawers opened and furniture overturned. Police Chief Keith Ternes said it appears someone was searching for something in the home.

On Wednesday morning, investigators were still collecting and processing evidence at Gattuso's house, Ternes said. Dahle said at 6 p.m. that investigators were no longer on the scene, though they may return later.

Fargo police urge anyone with information about the pickup or the car, or any other tips about the case, to call (701) 241-1405.