NORTH PORT, Fla. (WSVN) — Police are now calling the boyfriend of 22-year-old Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito a person of interest in her disappearance.
North Port Police issued an update on Petito’s missing person’s case Wednesday.
Police said Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, has not “made himself available to be interviewed by investigators or has provided any helpful details.”
Police said Laundrie returned to North Port on Sept. 1, which was 10 days before Petito was reported missing by her family. The van they were traveling in was also found at Laundrie’s home.
Police said they have no information that a crime occurred in North Port.
Petito and Laundrie had ventured out in July on a cross-country road trip. Their travels took them from Florida to New York and then they were supposed to visit national parks out west. However, Petito’s family said they last heard from her on Aug. 25, when she was believed to have been in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Petito was thoroughly and consistently documenting the trip on social media as well. However, her last post on Instagram was on Aug. 25.
“As a father, I can imagine the pain and suffering Gabby’s family is going through. We are pleading with anyone, including Brian, to share information with us on her whereabouts in the past few weeks. The lack of information from Brian is hindering this investigation. The answers will eventually come out. We will help find Gabby, and we will help find anyone who may be involved in her disappearance,” said North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison.
Fox 13 reports that the Laundrie family released a statement Tuesday night that read:
“This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family. On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.”
Petito’s family also released a statement in response that read in part:
“The Schmidt and Petito family beg the Laundrie family to not ‘remain in the background’ but to help find who Brian referred to as the love of his life. How does Brian stay in the background when he is the one person that knows where Gabby is located?“
North Port Police said they are taking the lead in the case since Laundrie and Petito lived at the same home with his parents.
The FBI is also investigating the case and has set up a tip line at 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). Anyone with information is asked to call the line.
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