The fiance of aThe New York woman is now considered a person of interest, authorities said on Wednesday. Gabrielle Petito, 22, has been reported missing after traveling across the country with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.
North Port, Florida police identified Laundrie, 23, as a person of interest, saying he had not “made himself available for questioning by investigators” nor provided details that might be helpful in their research.
The couple began their road trip on July 2. Petito was reportedly last in Grand Teton, Wyoming, after visiting Utah. Police said the couple were traveling in their white 2012 Ford Transit van, which Laundrie drove home without her on September 11 – 10 days before Petito went missing.
Her mother, Nicole Schmidt, said she last video chatted with Petito on August 23 or 24. She received a final text from her daughter’s phone on August 30, but didn’t want to say what he was saying or if she believed it was from her daughter.
“As a father, I can imagine the pain and suffering Gabby’s family is going through. We implore anyone, including Brian, to share with us information about her plight over the past few weeks,” Chief Todd said. Garrison of North Port to a statement Wednesday.
“Brian’s lack of information is hampering this investigation. The answers will come out eventually. We will help locate Gabby and help find anyone who may be involved in her disappearance.”
Laundrie’s family released a statement Tuesday evening, calling Petito’s disappearance “an extremely difficult time” for both families. “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,” the statement said. “On the advice of the lawyer, the Laundrie family remain in the background at this point and will have no further comment.”
Petito’s family responded on Tuesday, “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 van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers. “
North Port Police are investigating and the FBI is assisting in the search.