NORTH PORT, Fla. - Police have now named Brian Laundrie as a person of interest in the disappearance of his girlfriend, 22-year-old Gabrielle Petito. They said he was back home in North Port, Florida 10 days before her families reported her missing.
In an update on Wednesday morning, North Port police said Brian is still not cooperating in the investigation and has not made himself available to detectives to provide "helpful details."
While Brian Laundrie has remained silent as searches for Gabby get underway, her family has become increasingly vocal in the calls for him to talk and for the public to be on the lookout.
"Gabby always wanted to travel and see the amazing sites, and she’s doing it, and that’s awesome to see," Gabrielle’s father, Joe Petito told Fox News.
Joe said he and his daughter lived hundreds of miles apart and only saw each other occasionally. He wishes now he knew Brian Laundrie better.
"I was living in New York and they were down in Florida, so, not as well as I would’ve liked to, but there still weren’t any red flags that would indicate this would be, we would be here today," Joe Petito said. "My daughter is not here, our daughter is not here, we don’t even know where she is, what state she’s in, we’re shooting from the hip here trying to do what we can."
Gabby's family says the last time she texted her mom, she said she was heading to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
To help law enforcement with the investigation in any way they can.
Gabby's stepfather, Jim Schmidt, arrived in Jackson, Wyoming late Tuesday night.
"Right now, the police are doing everything they can and that’s all we can rely on right now, is that all these law enforcement agencies are working together collectively and they’re doing their best to find out what happened, where she is," Jim Schmidt said.
For now, the FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips: 1-800-225-5324 or submit tips to tips.fbi.gov. North Port police have taken the lead in the investigation due to Brian residing in the city, and the hotline will be the primary contact for any incoming tips.
Following the North Port police press conference, the Petito family released a new statement through their lawyer Wednesday afternoon:
Every day the search for Gabby continues the Schmidt and Petito family becomes more desperate. They are frantically searching for answers and information in 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 the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.
Brian left Gabby in the wilderness with grizzly bears and wolves while he sits in the comfort of his home. In his home!
Brian, how could you do this to Gabby? You selfishly remain 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, 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.
North Port police also released additional images of the camper van that Gabrielle and Brian were traveling in during their road trip.
Her mother said she last spoke to her daughter via text on August 25. Gabrielle and Brian were driving a converted camper van from Florida to New York and then to national parks out west when Gabrielle went missing. They began their journey in July. Her family reported her missing on September 11.
They have been chronicling their journey through social media. On Tuesday, North Port police said, "We have had a few questions about Gabrielle's Instagram page being taken down. We are currently looking into that."
Her last post on social media was August 25. Gabrielle's mom said the two spoke over Facetime. Gabby told her they were in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and planned to visit Yellowstone National Park next, but it's unclear if she ever made it. Brian's attorney said in a statement that his family are "remaining in the background" while searches get underway near the Grand Teton.
The camper van was located at the home of her boyfriend's parents in North Port over the weekend. Gabrielle also lived there, police said Tuesday.
Provided by North Port police
Tuesday night, Fox News obtained a report that police in Utah were called to an "an incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito roughly two weeks before she was last seen and a month before she was officially reported missing."
Moab Chief of Police Bret Edge told Fox News Tuesday:
"Our officers did respond to an incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito on 12 August 2021 however, neither Brian or Gabrielle were the reporting party …Officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges."
Gabby's family says they want answers from Brian about where he last saw her and why he apparently left her alone.
They say he had referred to her as the love of his life.
"What we need is to bring Gabby home and find her. Please everyone if you can look at the picture, memorize her face, and just keep a lookout, and let us know if you see anything," Joseph Petito said.
Gabrielle is described as 5 feet, 5 inches tall and has blonde hair and blue eyes. She has a triangle tattoo with flowers on her left arm and a "Let It Be" tattoo on her right arm.
Her family said they implore Brian to at least say if they are looking in the right area.