(Trends Wide) — Gabby Petito’s father, who was reported missing over the weekend, made a public plea Thursday for information on the Florida girl’s disappearance.
Petito, 22, was reported missing by her family on Saturday after no news of her since late August, according to North Port, Florida police.
“Finding this woman is what matters,” her father, Joe Petito, said Thursday during a news conference with North Port police, showing a photo of the missing girl. “Anything else … comes second to this.”
Petito is believed to have been in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming prior to his last contact with the family, police said. She was traveling with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who returned to Florida, hired an attorney and, along with his family, has refused to speak to investigators.
“I’m asking everyone here for help. I’m asking everyone at home for help. I’m asking Brian’s parents for help,” Petito’s father said, urging anyone with information to call the FBI hotline at 1-800. -CALLFBI (225-5324).
Laundrie was riding with Petito in his white 2012 Ford Transit truck with Florida plates, according to a police statement. The truck was recovered Sunday from the North Port home he shared with Laundrie and his parents, according to the statement. Laundrie reportedly returned to North Port on September 1.
An attorney representing the Laundrie family said in a statement Tuesday that the family “remains in the background at this time and will not comment further” on the attorney’s advice.
“We understand that a search has been organized for Ms. Petito in or around Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming,” Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino said in the statement.
North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said Thursday that a missing persons investigation is underway and no criminal charges have been filed at this time.
“Brian is exercising his constitutional rights and I have to respect them,” Garrison said of Laundrie and his family. The focus of the investigation, he added, “is not to bring Brian in right now.”
The police describe Petito as a white woman, standing around 1.65 meters tall and weighing 50 kilos, has blonde hair, blue eyes and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that says ” Let it be “(” Let it be “, in English).
Petito and her boyfriend had an “altercation” in Utah, police said
In August, police in Moab, Utah, had an encounter with Petito and her boyfriend and the couple were described as having “been involved in some kind of altercation,” according to a report released by the Moab City Police Department.
Moab City Police responded to reports of disorderly conduct on August 12 and came across Laundrie and Petito, along with a witness whose full name was removed from the report.
Laundrie and Petito were described as having 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 wish to see anyone charged with a crime,” according to the officer’s report. Officer Eric Pratt.
At the officers’ suggestion, Laundrie and Petito separated at night, according to the report. Petito is described by an officer 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 assault 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 for “4 or 5 months.”