- Gabby Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, has now been deemed a “person of interest” in the case of her disappearance, police said.
- Petito and Laundrie set out on a cross-country road trip from New York on July 2 in a converted camper van.
- Petito’s family reported her missing September 11 after Laundrie returned home to Florida with the van and without her.
Gabby Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, has now been deemed a “person of interest” in the mysterious case of the young woman’s disappearance, Florida police said Wednesday, adding that the man is “hindering this investigation.”
Petito and Laundrie set out on a cross-country road trip from New York on July 2 in a white converted camper van, documenting their travels on social media along the way.
Petito’s family reported her missing to New York police on September 11 after Laundrie returned home to Florida with the van and without her.
North Port police said Laundrie returned to the North Port, Florida home where he and Petito had been living with his parents on September 1, 10 days before she was reported missing.
Authorities said Laundrie has refused to be interviewed by investigators.
—North Port Police (@NorthPortPolice) September 15, 2021
“As of now, Brian has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators or has provided any helpful details,” Florida’s North Port Police Department said in a lengthy statement Wednesday.
The department said, “We have no information that a crime occurred here in North Port. Brian Laundrie is a person of interest in this case.”
North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison commented on the case, saying, “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.”
Garrison added, “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.”
The North Port Police Department also said that it is now the lead law enforcement agency in the case.
Over the weekend, investigators with the department seized the 2012 Ford Transit van that Petito and Laundrie had traveled across the country in.
“That vehicle was fully processed for evidence along with FBI agents Tuesday evening,” the police department said.
The department added, “Several detective are working around the clock to piece this complex and far-reaching situation together.”
Investigators have received hundreds of tips involving the case, which are being vetted through multiple law enforcement agencies, the police department said.
Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, last FaceTimed with her daughter on August 24.