Gabby Petito, 22, from Long Island in New York, was reported missing on Saturday by her family after her fiance returned home alone after a trip across the country the two embarked on in early July. Police and Petito’s family say the fiancé refuses to speak to law enforcement, CBS New York reports.
Petito was last seen on August 24 leaving a Salt Lake City hotel with his fiance Brian Laundrie. The couple live together in North Port, Florida, and had been together for two and a half years, and got engaged just over a year, according to CBS affiliate WSFB-TV. Laundrie returned to their common home without Petito long before the end of their journey.
Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, told the WFSB that she would normally have a video call with her daughter three times a week. Schmidt said the last time she communicated with her daughter was August 30 via text message, but she was not sure the text messages were actually from Petito.
“I don’t know if it was technically her or not, as it was just a text message. I didn’t speak to her verbally,” Schmidt said.
The family reported Petito missing 12 days later.
“The first two days, although I didn’t get any responses, I thought she was in a place with no service. It was like the eighth or ninth day that I got really worried,” Schmidt said. at CBS New York.
Police have seized the 2012 Ford Transit van the couple were traveling in and it will be dealt with by the FBI, according to WSFB. Florida Police say the laundry is a person of interest.
“You had someone who was in constant communication with her family on a fairly regular basis. Then, all of a sudden, nothing. Then, all of a sudden, the person she was traveling with is back here and she’s not here. That person is not willing to speak with us at this point. This is all very, very concerning, “Josh Taylor, public information officer for the Police Department of the New York City, told CBS. North Port.
Police also told CBS New York that Laundrie’s refusal to speak was hampering their investigation and that they were only given the name of Laundrie’s attorney, who would not answer questions about Petito’s location.
Petito and Laundrie were traveling in a converted van for their cross-country trip, which was due to end in Portland, Oregon, in October. In late August, a video was posted to the Nomadic Statik YouTube channel that included footage of Petito and Laundrie talking to the camera of their van and tent.
The Laundrie family released a statement on Tuesday, saying that “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.”
In response, Petite’s parents released a statement saying, “Brian refuses to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her. Brian also refuses to explain why he left Gabby alone and drove. his pickup truck in Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers. ”
“The Schimdt and Petito family are begging the Laundrie family not to ‘stand back’ but to help find who Brian called the love of his life,” they continued. “How does Brian stay in the background when he’s the only person who knows Gabby’s whereabouts?”
Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, told CBS New York: “I probably haven’t slept since Friday, haven’t eaten since Saturday.”
“If you hike a trail and stuff like that and you see her, you can turn around” It’s Gabby… Gabby, this is my phone. You have to call your parents right away, “” he added.