Boyfriend of missing 22-year-old woman named person of interest
NORTH PORT, Fla. — Officials with the North Port Police Department announced Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of 22-year-old Gabrielle Petito, has been named a person of interest in her disappearance.
Police said Laundrie has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators nor has he provided any helpful details since he returned to Florida.
“As a father, I can imagine the pain and suffering Gabby’s family is going through. We are pleading with anyone, including Brian, to share information with us on her whereabouts in the past few weeks. The lack of information from Brian is hindering this investigation. The answers will eventually come out. We will help find Gabby and we will help find anyone who may be involved in her disappearance,” said North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison.
Police said Laundrie returned to Florida on Sept. 1 — 10 days before Petito’s family reported her missing. The couple had set out on a cross-country van trip that included documented stops at national parks across Utah.
Family members said they were last in contact with Petito late last month and she was believed to have been in Grand Teton National Park prior to her last communication.
#BREAKING: @NorthPortPolice says Brian Laundrie was back in Florida on Sept.1. This was several days before #GabbyPetito realized she was missing. Gabby’s family tells me the couple was supposed to end their trip in Oregon. @FBI Tip Line: 1-800-CALL-FBI @KSL5TV Full Release Here: pic.twitter.com/8hYHr8oxkx
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) September 15, 2021
North Port police said they are leading the investigation in partnership with the FBI, which has set up a national hotline to receive tips at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).
Police said the van Petito and Laundrie were traveling in was recovered at her home in Florida, which is shared with Laundrie and his parents.
“I think we’re just pleading with him at this point to please speak with us,” said Josh Taylor, public information officer for the North Point Police Department. “We need to understand those details and they put out a release yesterday saying they remain in the background. That is not good enough.”
The van is a white 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida license plate QFTG03. Petitio is white, approximately 5-foot-5 and weighs 110 pounds. She has blonde hair, blue eyes and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads “let it be.”
Anyone who saw the van was asked to contact authorities.
Earlier Wednesday, Petito’s Instagram account, which has helped authorities piece together a timeline of the couple’s location, was briefly deactivated. It returned online after a few hours.
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