SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – It was an emotional plea from a father whose daughter remains missing.
Joe Petito spoke briefly to reporters in Florida about his daughter Gabby who continues to remain missing.
She was last heard from on August 27. Gabby was traveling throughout the country with her fiancé Brian Laundrie. But Laundrie returned to Florida on September 1 and has refused to cooperate. He hired an attorney from the moment police arrived at his parent’s home in Florida. Police called him a person of interest.
That’s why Gabby’s father asked for help Thursday during a press conference with the North Port Florida police.
“What I need from everyone here is help because the goal has still not been met,” said Petito. “The goal is to bring Gabby home safe.”
He also asked for help from the public including Laundrie and his family.
Gabby and Brian’s tour of the country took a different turn in Moab in mid-August. Police questioned them after there was a report of a fight on Main Street. But police bodycam video showed what police saw themselves.
No one was arrested after they determined that both were going through a health crisis. Both suffer from high levels of anxiety. But police separated the couple for the night and then they were on the road again
They stayed at a hotel near Salt Lake’s airport before making their way to Ogden. She posted photographs on her Facebook while in Ogden.
According to the family’s attorney, they were headed to the Grand Tetons in late August.
“Nicole received an additional text on the 25th that Gabby was in the Tetons,” said their attorney Rick Stafford. “And on the 27th, two days later, she received multiple texts where they talked back and forth where Nicole believed she was in the Tetons and was going to head north into Yellowstone because of the fires.”
While Brian Laundrie isn’t talking about the search for Gabby, his sister Cassie is. In an interview with ABC News, she says “Obviously, me and my family want Gabby to be found safe.”
“She’s like a sister and my children love her. All I want is for her to come home safe and sound and this just to be a big misunderstanding,” she adds.
Around August 30, Gabby’s mother received a puzzling text from Gabby’s phone. It read “no service in Yosemite.” But it didn’t come from Gabby according to Stafford. He said someone was using her phone.
“(It) made no sense because that was not part of their plan,” said Stafford.
But that text may prove vital in the investigation according to a private investigator.
“Now there’s only one person in the entire planet that if they were responsible for Gabby’s disappearance that would bother to do that,” said Jason Jensen, a private investigator. “Everyone else associated to Gabby could care less to sending a message to mom or not.”
He said there is no doubt the FBI is searching for geographic coordinates from where that message was sent.
“That phone call probably originated in someplace like Texas or Colorado or Nebraska, Georgia on the way back to Florida,” Jensen said.
Meanwhile, police in Florida said they now have some items from Laundrie.
“The family attorney arranged to get us some property that we were looking for and beyond that nothing,” Chief Todd Garrison told reporters. “This is a missing person case. Our focus is to find Gabby and not to bring Brian in.”
And that’s the same goal for Gabby’s father.
“Whatever you can do to make sure my daughter comes home, I am asking for that help,” Petito said. “There is nothing else that matters to me now. This girl (Gabby) right here, this is what matters. Everything else comes second to this.”
Federal authorities have now issued a missing persons bulletin for Gabby. Anyone with information is urged to call their toll-free number 1-800-CALL FBI or 1-800-225-5324.