NORTH PORT, Fla. (ABC4) – The boyfriend of missing Gabby Petito is now a person of interest.
North Port Police in Florida say Brian Laundrie is now a person of interest in the case of Petito’s disappearance. Laundrie and the van he and Petito had been traveling in appeared in Florida earlier this month. Petito and Laundrie had been documenting their trip on social media, including YouTube and Instagram. The last posts to both Instagram accounts were from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
A national search is currently underway for Petito, who is from New York. Because “the parties in this case residing in North Port, Florida, the North Port Police Department will be the primary investigating agency, in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigations,” according to a Wednesday morning release.
According to North Port Police, Petito’s vehicle was found at her home in North Port on Saturday, Sept. 11, the same day her family in Suffolk County, New York, reported her missing. Petito shares that North Port home with Laundrie and his parents. Authorities, including FBI agents, fully processed that van on Tuesday.
While Laundrie has been identified as a person of interest, North Port police say he “has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators or has provided any helpful details.” Authorities say they know Laundrie returned to North Port on Sept. 1, 10 days before Petito was reported missing.
“We have no information that a crime occurred here in North Port,” North Port Police say.
“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. 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,” says North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison.
The FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips: 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). That is the primary tip line.
North Port Police say they have received hundreds of tips so far which are now being vetted. If you saw the van, seen below, or have any other information, authorities want to speak with you.
Petito is believed to have been in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming before last speaking with her family. She is described as white, approximately 5’5″ and 110 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads “let it be.”