NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — The Grand Teton National Park put out a missing person post on its Instagram page Wednesday with Gabby Petito’s picture. No one has seen or heard from the North Port woman in weeks.
Her fiancé Brian Laundrie is now a person of interest.
“In my experience, intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focuses their attention on in cases like this and the warning that ‘any statement made will be used against you is true, regardless of whether my client had anything to do with Ms. Petito’s disappearance. As such, on the advice of counsel Mr. Laundrie is not speaking on this matter,” Steve Bertolino said, the attorney representing Laundrie and his family.
North Port police say they found Gabby’s van at her home Saturday. She and Laundrie used the van for a cross country road trip.
Laundrie got back home Sept. 1, Petito wasn’t with him. Her mom, Nichole Schmidt reported her daughter missing 10 days later.
“She’s not the type of kid who says I’m going off the grid, I’ll see you in a month,” Schmidt said. “It’s obvious he’s hiding something but we want him to just let us know where we can find Gabby.”
But were there problems in their relationship?
A police report from the Moab City Police Department in Utah shows Petitio and Laundrie had a fight that got physical on August 12. One officer reported Petito was slapping Laundrie, when he grabbed her face and pushed her back.
No charges were filed, and they agreed to separate for the night. Schmidt says she’s focused on finding her daughter, no matter what.
“Did he drop her off somewhere, did they get into a fight, did he leave her, I just want to know,” Schmidt asked.
North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison tweeted Wednesday:
“Mr. Steven Bertolino, esq. the @NorthPortPolice needs your help in finding Gabby Petito. Please call us to arrange a conversation with Brian Laundrie. Two people left on a trip and one person returned!”
North Port police will hold another press conference Thursday at noon. The FBI and one of Gabby’s family members are expected to speak.
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