Family, police plead for help in finding Gabby Petito
SALT LAKE CITY — Police and family pleaded for the public’s help Thursday and asked the boyfriend of Gabby Petito to come forward with information in the search for the missing 22-year-old.
“Today we’re here to talk about Gabby,” said Chief Todd Garrison with the North Port Police Department at the start of the press conference in Florida.
“Two people went on a trip. One person returned. And that person that returned isn’t providing us any information.”
Thursday brought more questions than answers in the search for Gabby Petito. Her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, remains silent. But every day that passes her family is more desperate to find her.
“I’m asking help from everyone here. I’m asking for help from everyone at home. I’m asking for help from the parents of Brian,” said Gabby’s father, Joe Petito.
Gabby Petito and Laundrie left New York for a cross-country trip in June. They documented the adventure on social media and police say Gabby kept in regular contact with her family until the end of August when it abruptly stopped.
“Whatever you can do to make sure my daughter comes home, I’m asking for that help. There is nothing else that matters to me right now,” Joe Petito said.
The investigation now spans several states, including Utah, where the couple visited Moab and multiple national parks.
On Aug. 12, a man called police on the couple during a heated argument in Moab. According to interviews caught on police body camera video, the encounter included Gabby Petito slapping Laundrie and Laundrie attempting to lock her out of the car.
“Yes, they had a disturbance. Yes, it was captured on body camera. Their interaction with law enforcement. But beyond that I don’t know what it has to do with her disappearance,” Garrison said of the incident in Moab.
It happened days before Crystal Turner, 38, and Kylen Schulte, 24, went missing from Moab and were later found shot to death. Garrison was aware of the incident and its proximity to Petito’s and Laundrie’s visit.
“We have communication going back and forth going with Grand County Sheriff’s Office,” he said. “They told us they’re looking at everything at this point.”
Laundrie returned home to Florida with Petito’s van earlier this month and has so far kept quiet, following the counsel of his attorney.
Garrison said they are not calling this a crime, but a missing person case at this point. But his department has named Laundrie a person of interest in the case.
“This girl right here,” Joe Petito said, pointing to a picture of his missing daughter. “This is what matters. That is it. Anything else, it comes second to this.”
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