Police are looking for Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s fiancé, still missing. The couple left for a cross-country trip in July, but only Laundrie returned to her parents’ home in North Port, Fla. On September 1, police said.
Police named Laundrie a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, but he refused to speak to the police. No charges have been filed and the case continues to be a missing persons case, police said.
Laundrie’s family told officers on Friday that they had not seen him since Tuesday, according to a statement from police in North Port, Florida. Police said on Friday it was the first time that officers had discussed the case in detail with the laundries and that the family had requested the reunion.
Laundrie’s family filed a missing person report around 5 p.m. Friday, North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.
North Port Police, FBI and other agencies are looking for Laundrie in the vast Carlton Preserve, a nearly 25,000-acre reserve with approximately 80 miles of trails in Sarasota County, where his family says he believes he is. went earlier this week.
Authorities dismissed what they called “completely false” rumors broadcast on social networks that a body had been found in this area on Saturday afternoon.
Lawyers for the Petito family released a statement saying Laundrie was not “missing”.
Happiness video, troubled journey:Police body camera footage is Gabby Petito’s latest twist in mystery
“Gabby’s whole family wants the world to know Brian hasn’t gone missing, he’s in hiding.” Gabby is missing, ”the statement from Richard B. Stafford’s law firm said.
Laundrie’s lawyer issued his own statement: “Please be aware that the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie is currently unknown,” said Steven Bertolino. “The FBI is currently at the Laundrie residence removing property to help locate Brian. As of now, the FBI is looking for both Gabby and Brian. “
Police said Laundrie returned to North Port without Petito in her van on September 1 – 10 days before her family reported her missing.
Petito, 22, was last seen in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming on August 30.
As police questioned Laundrie’s family in their home, protesters gathered outside, cluttering the lawn and shouting “Where’s Gabby?”
In a statement released Friday, the North Port Police Department said it is not currently working on a criminal investigation and the case is now being treated as a multiple missing persons investigation.
The agency added that they and the FBI had begged the family to speak to investigators for nearly a week before Friday night’s meeting.
“We understand the frustration of the community, we are also frustrated,” the statement said.
This is what we know:
What we knew on Friday:Gabby Petito’s family “tortured” for lack of information
Laundry, family accused of withholding information
Investigators accused Laundrie and his entourage of withholding critical information.
When authorities seized the van from their North Port home, Laundrie refused to speak to authorities and instead hired a lawyer.
“It tears you apart,” North Port Police Department spokesman Josh Taylor said of Petito’s family at a press conference Friday. “They are tortured right now by the potential of someone having information and not relaying it.”
“I think Brian has the information,” Todd Garrison, chief of the North Port Florida Police Department, said at a press conference Thursday.
Police said Laundrie was invoking his right not to speak about the Fifth Amendment.
Laundrie’s attorney said he advised Laundrie not to speak.
“A lot of people are wondering why Mr. Laundrie wouldn’t make a statement or speak to law enforcement in the face of Ms. Petito’s absence,” Bertolino said in a statement. “In my experience, intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focuses their attention on in cases like this and the warning that” any statement made will be used against you “is true. Whether or not my client has anything to do with Ms. Petito’s disappearance. As such, on the advice of the lawyer, Mr. Laundrie is not speaking on this matter. “
Who is Gabby Petito?
Petito is an aspiring blogger and YouTuber with thousands of fans. An idyllic viral video titled “Beginning Our Van Life Journey” on her YouTube channel called Nomadic Statik was shared around the world, featuring the couple’s trek across the country.
Petito is described as a white female, measuring around 5 feet, 5 inches, and 110 pounds. She has blonde hair, blue eyes and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that says “Let it be”.
Who is Brian Laundrie?
Childhood lovers Laundrie, 23, and Peitio are engaged. They moved from Blue Point, New York, in 2019 to live with his parents in North Port.
Laundrie is a white male, five feet eight inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, with brown eyes, short brown hair, and cropped facial hair.
Police investigate an argument between a couple in Utah
After a witness reported a potential situation of domestic violence, police investigated an argument between the couple in August.
Body camera images released Thursday show Petito in tears as an officer in Moab, Utah, responded to the side of a freeway near Arches National Park.
Laundrie told an officer that Petito had slapped him in the face after friction had built up between them for several days. The officer wrote that the two had been traveling together for several months, and the closeness created “emotional tension” leading to more arguments.
Laundrie told an officer that he and Petito both suffered from the same mental health issue. The police report redacted specific information about the condition.
Officers in the video told the couple to sleep in separate places for the night so that they could “reset their mental states without interference from each other.”
“I don’t believe the situation has escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis,” the officer concluded in the report.
Police get a flood of tips
Taylor said on Friday that the department had received “a huge amount of tips,” estimating that more than 1,000 had entered.
“The vast majority of them aren’t useful, but it’s these little nuggets, these little pieces in there,” he said.
Gabby Petito’s father Joe on Thursday asked for information that could help locate his daughter.
“I ask for help from everyone at home,” he told a press conference. “I ask for help from Brian’s parents, and I am asking for help from family members and friends of the Laundrie family.”
Anyone with information can contact a national hotline for advice at 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324).
Contributors: Patricia McKnight, Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Mike James, USA TODAY; The Associated Press