Florida Police Search Gabby Petito, Request Her Boyfriend’s Cooperation

“He needs to talk to us,” Josh Taylor, spokesperson for the North Port, Florida Police Department, said at a press briefing. “We need to know exactly where he was, where she was, their last locations and that he was back here for 10 days.… The family reported him missing 10 days later.”

Joe Petito, Petito’s father, said on Thursday that what matters right now is finding his daughter.

“That’s what matters, finding this girl is what matters,” he said at a North Port Police briefing Thursday.

“Everything else comes after that,” the father said, showing a photo of his missing daughter.

Petito’s family reported the 22-year-old missing on September 11. They said they were last in contact with her during the last week of August, according to North Port police.

Prior to this communication, Petito was believed to have been in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, police said. She was traveling with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, in his white 2012 Ford Transit van with a Florida license plate, police said in a press release on Wednesday.

This vehicle was recovered on September 11 from the North Port home she shared with Laundrie and her parents, the statement said, adding that Laundrie would have returned to North Port on September 1.

The vehicle was treated and “there was material inside” that authorities will examine, Taylor said at Wednesday’s press conference. He did not provide any further information on the material.

There is currently no search warrant for this home, Taylor said.

Authorities came to the home on Saturday to ask to speak to Laundrie and her family, but “we were basically handed the information for their lawyer,” Taylor said.

“That’s the extent of our conversation with them,” Taylor said. “From what I understand, we have had a few conversations with his lawyer, but certainly nothing in terms of providing us with the details we would like.”

North Port Police are investigating, with assistance from the FBI. Petito’s family – who live in New York – had reported his disappearance to the Suffolk County Police Department, New York.

Petito and his boyfriend had an “altercation” in Utah, according to the police

In August, police in Moab, Utah, met Petito and her boyfriend and the couple were described as having “engaged in some sort of altercation,” according to a report released by the Police Department. the city of Moab.

Police in the city of Moab were called with reports of disorderly conduct on August 12 and met with Laundrie and Petito, as well as a witness whose full name was redacted from the report.

Laundrie and Petito are described as having a physical fight over an argument, but “the man and woman said they were in love and engaged to be married and were desperate to see anyone charged with a crime “, according to the report of the officer Eric Pratt.

At the officers’ suggestion, Laundrie and Petito went their separate ways for the night, according to the report. Petito is described by an officer as “confused and emotional”.

“Having assessed all of the circumstances, I don’t think the situation escalated so much into a domestic assault as into a mental health crisis,” Officer Daniel Robbins wrote in the police report. No charges have been laid.

Robbins wrote that Laundrie said the couple had been traveling together for “the past 4 or 5 months.”

The Laundrie family “stays behind”

In a statement on Tuesday, Petito’s parents Nicole Schmidt and Joseph Petito said Laundrie refused to tell them where he last saw their daughter and “refused to explain why he left Gabby alone and had drives his van in Florida “.

Speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night, Petito’s stepfather Jim Schmidt said the young woman communicated regularly with her mother and family.

“She was coming off the grid… doing her van life stuff, exploring these different areas. So it was not uncommon for her to go away a few days at a time, but she would always go back somewhere. have Wi-Fi, upload to his Instagram, make phone calls, FaceTime, ”he said.

An attorney representing the Laundrie family said in a statement Tuesday that the family “were standing back at this point and would have no further comment” on the attorney’s advice.

“We understand that a search has been arranged for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming,” Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino said in the statement.

In response to this statement, Petito’s parents begged the Laundrie family to instead “help find who Brian called the love of his life.”

“How does Brian stay in the background when he’s the only person who knows Gabby’s whereabouts?” their statement says.

In a statement on Wednesday, Petito family attorney Richard Stafford pleaded with the young woman’s boyfriend to break his silence and help him find her.

“Every day the search for Gabby continues, the Schmidt and Petito family become more and more desperate,” the statement said, adding that Laundrie’s silence is “reprehensible”.

“We beg you to do the right thing and help us bring Gabby home,” he added. “You tarnish your love for her with your silence.”

Police describe the circumstances of the disappearance as “strange”

During Wednesday’s press conference, Taylor said police were doing “everything in our power to get her home safely or potentially hold anyone responsible for injuring her.”

“We are concerned and are working as quickly as possible to get a resolution,” Taylor said.

Previously, North Port Police had called the circumstances of the woman’s disappearance “strange”.

“Someone who’s traveled and contacted their family and then all of a sudden gloomy – it’s obviously weird,” Taylor told CNN on Tuesday.

Police said Petito was white, was around 5 feet 5 inches tall, and was 110 pounds, with blonde hair, blue eyes and several tattoos, including one on his finger and one on his forearm that read “Let it be “.

The FBI has set up a nationwide hotline – 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324) – to receive tips, police said.

“So far we have received hundreds of tips that are being reviewed by multiple agencies. If anyone has seen the van pictured and any information that might be of help, please let us know,” police said.

A verified GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds and help find Petito, with the consent of his family.

“Our trust and security team is working with the organizer of GoFundMe to ensure funds are transferred directly to the family,” Kelsi Gantt, GoFundMe communications manager, confirmed in an email to CNN.

CNN’s Jenn Selva, Ben Norbitz, Andy Rose, and Claudia Dominguez contributed to this report.

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