(Trends Wide) — Investigators searching for Gabby Petito believe her fiancé and those around him are withholding critical information related to her disappearance and are refusing to appear, police said Thursday night.
“I think Brian has the information,” North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said of fiancé Brian Laundrie.
“I think the people around Brian may have the information too, and we are pleading with those people to come forward. Please give us the information we need to find Gabby and reunite Gabby with her family because she deserves it and her family. he deserves it, “he said.
Petito, 22, was riding with Laundrie in his white 2012 Ford Transit pickup with Florida plates, police said. On September 11 her family reported her missing, after not having heard from her since the end of August. Police believe he was in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming prior to his last contact with the New York-based family.
“We are conducting an investigation of a missing person. Two people went on a trip and one person came back. And that person is Brian. And we are looking for Gabby, and he is not willing to give us any information,” Garrison told Trends Wide’s Don Lemon on Thursday night.
Authorities believe Laundrie was the last person to see Petito before he disappeared.
According to a timeline of events provided Friday by the Petito family’s attorney Richard Stafford, Gabby FaceTimeed her mother on Aug. 24, saying she was leaving Utah and heading to the Tetons.
Gabby and her mother exchanged several text messages the next day, at which point her family believes she was in the Tetons. Gabby and her mother texted again on August 27.
The last text message the family received from Gabby was on August 30, according to the timeline. Stafford says the text said, “There is no service in Yosemite.”
Stafford previously told Trends Wide that Gabby’s family doubted that she had written the text message, although he did not say why the family did not believe it was her writing.
On September 11, police found the van the couple was traveling in at the home Petito shared with Laundrie and his parents in North Port, Florida. Laundrie reportedly returned to North Port on September 1, police said in a news release.
Laundrie’s sister Cassie Laundrie told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview that aired Friday: “My family and I want Gabby to be safe. She is like a sister and my children love her.” .
“All I want is for her to come home safely and for this to be just a huge misunderstanding,” Cassie Laundrie said, adding that she has not been able to speak to her brother since she returned home.
The FBI office in Denver announced Thursday that it would join the investigation into Petito’s disappearance.
“No data is too small or inconsequential to aid law enforcement efforts to get Ms. Petito home,” he said. the FBI office in Denver on Twitter, asking the public to send any information to the FBI, including “possible sightings, photos and videos, or any other details.”
“Do the right thing,” says Petito’s stepfather
Cassie Laundrie said she had spoken to police, but Josh Taylor, a spokesman for the North Port Police Department told Trends Wide: “That was news to me,” adding that he cannot confirm that he spoke to North Port police. Port.
“I may have talked to the police, but I would not consider the family to have been totally cooperative,” Taylor said. “This started with us on Saturday when we showed up at the door and they basically handed us a sheet of paper with their attorney’s contact information. That was the length of our conversation with Brian’s parents. We have never spoken a word to Brian.” .
Authorities are investigating some of the materials they found in the truck after processing them, although they did not clarify what exactly they found, Taylor said at an earlier news conference.
And the Laundries haven’t spoken to Petito’s family, who have been pleading with people to come forward.
“We haven’t had communication between our family and theirs. It’s absolutely absurd. We don’t understand why,” Petito’s stepfather James Schmidt told Trends Wide affiliate Court TV.
Schmidt explained that he is in Jackson, Wyoming, as a link between his family and law enforcement while investigators search for Petito. He said he believes Laundrie knows information about his stepdaughter’s disappearance and is “hiding behind” his lawyer.
“He grew up with Gabby, they went to school together. They’re not strangers. They’ve known each other for a long time,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt approached Laundrie during the Court TV interview and asked him to release information that he may have in his possession.
“This is the love of your life. He’s been on social media. You posted to your accounts. If that’s true, do the right thing. You have to do it now. Stop waiting,” Schmidt said.
“Right now, we don’t have a crime,” police say
Garrison told Trends Wide that his department is not working to obtain a search warrant for Laundrie’s home because they have not concluded that a crime has occurred. “To get a search warrant, you have to be linked to a crime. Right now, we don’t have a crime,” Garrison said.
He added that Laundrie has invoked his Fifth Amendment right, which generally means that a person cannot be compelled to make statements that he or she may feel could be negative or used against him. The amendment is generally invoked so that a person can avoid answering specific questions. The right must be affirmatively waived.
“So I can’t make him talk,” Garrison said. “All of our information has been directed through an attorney. That may change. The attorney may come in and say, ‘Listen, Brian wants to give a statement now.’
However, the couple had a recent altercation with police in Moab, Utah.
Last month, officers from the Moab City Police Department responded to reports of disorderly conduct involving Petito and Laundrie, an event that ended with a report describing them as “involved in some kind of altercation.”
The report released by the police department indicates that Laundrie and Petito had a physical fight after an argument, but “both the man and the woman reported that they are in love and engaged to be married and that they did not desperately want to see anyone charged with a crime. “according to the report by police officer Eric Pratt.
Officers responding to the incident suggested that Laundrie and Petito should separate for the night, according to the report. Petito is described by an agent as “confused and emotional”.
“After evaluating the totality of the circumstances, I do not believe that the situation has risen to the level of a domestic attack as much as a mental health crisis,” wrote Officer Daniel Robbins in the police report.
No charges were filed. Robbins wrote that Laundrie said the couple had been traveling together for “the last 4 or 5 months.”
Trends Wide’s Artemis Moshtaghian, Mirna Alsharif, Christina Maxouris, Jenn Selva, Ben Norbitz, Andy Rose, Claudia Dominguez and Halimah Abdullah contributed to this report.