- Gabrielle Petito, 22, reported missing by her family on September 11
- North Port Police name boyfriend Brian Laundrie as person of interest, describe him as uncooperative with investigation
- A van used by Petito and Laundrie on a cross-country trip recovered by North Port Police
- Laundrie’s lawyer issues statement saying Laundrie ‘will remain in the background’ of investigation
NORTH PORT, Floride — Moab Police released a body camera video Thursday showing Gabby Petito emotional following an altercation with her boyfriend in Utah just weeks before her disappearance.
The North Port Police Department is expected to speak about the incident at a press conference at noon Thursday.
Gabrielle (Gabby) Petito’s boyfriend was named a Person of Interest Wednesday by North Port Police in her disappearance as the couple were on a road trip across the country.
Brian Laundrie’s attorney released a new statement on Wednesday evening that reads:
“A lot of people wonder why Mr. Laundrie didn’t make a statement or speak to law enforcement in Ms. Petito’s absence. 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 something to do with Mrs. Petito’s disappearance. Thus, on counsel’s advice, Mr. Laundrie does not speak to the matter.
I have been advised that North Port, Florida Police have named Brian Laundrie as the “person of interest” in this matter. This formality has not significantly changed the circumstances in which Mr. Laundrie is the center of law enforcement attention and Mr. Laundrie will continue to remain silent on counsel’s advice.
Petito was reported missing by his family on September 11, just before 7 p.m.
The case has since gained national attention after Long Island police first reported Petito’s disappearance on Monday.
Petito is described as 5 feet 5 inches, 110 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She also has several tattoos including one on her finger and one on her forearm that says “let it be,” police said.
So far, Laundrie has not made himself available for questioning by investigators or provided any useful details about Petito’s disappearance, North Port police said.
Laundrie had returned home to North Port only on September 1.
GABBY’S FAMILY TALKS
The Petito & Schmidt families released the following statement on Wednesday in response to Laundrie’s designation as a Person of Interest:
“Each day the search for Gabby continues, the Schmidt and Petito family becomes more and more desperate. They frantically search for answers and information about their daughter’s disappearance while Brian sits in the comfort of his home.
Brian claims he wants to sit in the background while we search for Gabby in the wilderness of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
Brian left Gabby in the wilderness with grizzly bears and wolves as he sat in the comfort of his home. His home !
Brian, how could you do that to Gabby? You remain selfishly silent while Gabby is all alone in the wilderness.
Brian, your silence is reprehensible! We beg you to do the right thing and help us bring Gabby home.
Brian, whatever happened in Wyoming, has happened. The only thing you can control is what you do now. Tell us where Gabby is.
You tarnish your love for her with your silence.
-Richard Stafford, spokesperson for the family
The white Ford van that Petito and Laundrie were driving across the country was recovered by North Port Police on September 11, the same day Petito went missing, from the home of Petito and Laundrie.
“The van is there. We have him in custody. We are working with the FBI, it will be a very thorough process with all their skills and ours to find out anything that might be there, ”said Josh Taylor of the North Port Police Department.
“We currently have no definitive information that a crime has taken place here in North Port,” the NPPD said in a statement. “Having said that, the circumstances are strange. ”
A lawyer from Laundrie made this statement on Tuesday:
« This is naturally an extremely difficult time for the Petito family and the Laundrie family. We understand that a search has been arranged for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family, we hope that the search for Miss Petito will be successful and that Miss Petito will be reunited with her family. On the advice of the lawyer, the Laundrie family remain in the background at this point and will have no further comment. “
- July 2, 2021 – Gabrielle Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie leave New York City in a white Ford pickup truck and travel west on a road trip across the country, with Laundrie and Petito posting on Instagram frequently
- 12 august – Utah police officers are responding to an incident involving Petito and Laundrie, reported by a third party. No charges filed.
- August 19 – Petito publishes a YouTube video “Beginning Our Van Life Journey” documenting the first stages of their road trip
- 21st of August – Petito’s dad and stepmom talk to Gabby on their last FaceTime call with her while she was in Utah
- 25 august – Petito posted for the last time on Instagram with the caption “Happy Halloween”
- August 30 – Petito’s mother receives her last communication from Gabby’s phone, in the form of an SMS. Family believe Petito was in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
- September 1st – Laundromat goes home to North Port alone
- September 11th – Petito is missing by his family. The same day, a white Ford pickup truck was found in North Port at Petito and Laundrie
- September 13 – Local authorities and FBI release information to the public asking for advice on Petito’s whereabouts
- September 14 – Laundrie’s lawyer issues statement saying Laundrie “will remain in the background” of the investigation
- September 14 – Petito’s family issue statement begging Laundrie to provide information on Petito’s whereabouts
- September 15th – North Port Police name Laundrie as person of interest, describes him as uncooperative with investigation
BEFORE GABBY’S DISAPPEARANCE
Petito and Laundrie had posted a YouTube video that documented the couple’s first steps on their trip across the country.
During the couple’s trip, Utah police officers confirmed they responded to an incident involving Laundrie and Petito on Aug. 12, about a month before she was reported missing. Neither Laundrie nor Petito were the reporting party.
A witness told officers they saw Laundrie and Petito engaging in a physical altercation outside their van. The couple told officers they had an argument when Petito started slapping Laundrie. He allegedly grabbed Petito’s face and pushed her away.
WATCH THE FULL BODYCAM VIDEO OF THE INCIDENT BELOW:
The couple told police they did not want charges laid against them. Instead, the police arranged for the couple to go their separate ways for the night.
Read the full police report below:
Moab County Police Department by Olivia Hyde on Scribd
Petito sent updates to his family several times a week after the trip began on July 2. She last spoke with her dad and stepmom on Facetime on August 21.
His mother, Nichole Schmidt, last heard from Petito on August 30. Her family believed she was in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming when they last heard from her.
Family members said they noticed the 22-year-old’s Instagram posts slowed down towards the end of August around the same time they lost communication with her.
On Wednesday morning, Petito’s Instagram account was briefly deleted. It was restored a few hours later. North Port Police said they are still investigating why their page was deleted.
North Port Police said foul play was not out of the question.
“You know we are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. We are therefore not in a position to hope to find her and launch an investigation, which could be more important. We have to play both now, ”Taylor said.
The FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips: 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). Tips can also be submitted to tips.fbi.gov.