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North Port, FL

Family of missing woman says boyfriend won't cooperate

ABC Action News WFTS
ABC Action News WFTS
 2021-09-15
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The family of a missing North Port woman said they want answers regarding their daughter's disappearance .

Gabby Petito, 22, was reported missing by her family over the weekend. Her family said they spoke to their daughter on the phone on August 25.

Petito and her boyfriend left New York on July 2 for a cross-country trip out west. Authorities said Petito was last seen in Grand Teton National Park. North Port Police said her boyfriend returned home without her.

Gabby's father, Joseph Petito, said he feels like he is drowning waiting for answers.

Petito family

"You can sympathize, you can empathize, you can understand, but it's different when you're in it," he said.

The couple is seen on social media and on YouTube videos together. Legal representatives identified Gabby's boyfriend as Brian Laundrie.

An attorney representing the Laundrie family said in a statement:

“This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family. On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.”

ABC Action News reached out to The National Park Service in Grand Teton. Authorities would not confirm any details related to a search.

A spokesperson for Petito's family responded in a statement:

"The Schmidt and Petito family are going through the worst moments of their lives. Their beautiful twenty-two-year-old daughter is missing and the one person that can help find Gabby refuses to help. Brian Laundrie was traveling with Gabby in the Grand Teton – Yellowstone area. They were traveling together in Gabby’s 2012 Ford Transit van. That is where we believe Gabby was last seen.

Brian is refusing to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her. Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers.

The Schmidt and Petito family beg the Laundrie family to not “remain in the background” but to help find who Brian referred to as the love of his life. How does Brian stay in the background when he is the one person that knows where Gabby is located?

The Schmidt and Petito family implore Brian to come forward and at least tell us if we are looking in the right area."

North Port Police have not called Laundrie a suspect or person of interest in her disappearance. Officers recovered the van and call the circumstances surrounding Petito's disappearance "odd."

On Tuesday, Utah police confirmed they responded to an incident with Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito about two weeks before she was last seen. The statement can be found below:

"Our officers did respond to an incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito on 12 August 2021 however, neither Brian nor Gabrielle were the reporting party. Officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges."

Anyone with any information regarding this case is asked to call: Suffolk County Police Department: 1-800-220-TIPS or the Federal Bureau of Investigations: 1-800 CALL FBI or submit your tip to: tips.fbi.gov .

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