Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of missing 22-year-old Long Island woman Gabby Petito, has now been identified as a person of interest in her mysterious disappearance, police said Wednesday.
Brian Laundrie, who returned home to North Port, Fla., on his own after the couple went on a cross-country trip, has lawyered up and refused to cooperate with the police.
Petito, 22, has been missing since late last month. A national hotline has been set up for tips: 1-800-225-5324.
This is a timeline of Gabby Petito’s trip before her disappearance, according to investigators and information provided to authorities by family members:
July 2, 2021: Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, leave Blue Point, New York, for a cross-country trip in a camper van.
July 5, 2021: The couple visits Monument Rocks in Kansas.
Aug. 12, 2021: Utah police responded to an incident with Laundrie and Petito, however, neither Brian nor Gabrielle were the reporting party. Officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges.
Aug. 24, 2021: Petito is last seen with Laundrie checking out of a hotel in Salt Lake City.
Aug. 25, 2021: Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, speaks to her daughter for the last time via phone and learns she is in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Sept. 11, 2021: Petito’s parents report her missing.
“As a father, I can imagine the pain and suffering Gabby’s family is going through,” North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said in a statement.
“We are pleading with anyone, including Brian, to share information with us on her whereabouts in the past weeks,” Garrison said. “The lack of information from Brian is hindering this investigation.
“We will help find Gabby and we will help find anyone who may be involved in her disappearance,” the chief said.
North Port Police also said that authorities have received “hundreds of tips which are being vetted through multiple agencies” and asked anyone who may have seen the white 2012 Ford Transit van Petito and Laundrie were traveling in to call them.
Laundrie broke his silence on Tuesday, saying through his Long Island-based attorney Steven Bertolino that he and his family would be “remaining in the background.”
At a press conference Wednesday, North Police police spokesman Josh Taylor took issue with that statement.
“They put out a release yesterday saying they remain in the background,” Taylor told reporters. “That’s not good enough. We need the details.”
Asked why Laundrie was identified as a person of interest, Taylor added that, “I think most people would come to that conclusion in this case.
“He was the last person that we have information was around her,” he said. “How you define person of interest is up to you, but certainly we are interested in talking to him.
“If she’s out there we’re doing everything in our power to bring her home,” he said.
Taylor said authorities seized the 2012 Ford van the couple was traveling in and had finished processing it “less than 12 hours ago.”
He said Laundrie arrived back in North Port without Petito on Sept. 1 and was there 10 days before the van was seized.
Taylor added that police have only spoken to Bertolino.
Meanwhile, Laundrie’s parents, who have not spoken to the police either, arrived back at their home just minutes before the press conference.
The North Port department is the lead agency in the investigation, and the FBI and Suffolk County police are also on the case.