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December 7 2021
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Gabrielle Petito

The Strange Disappearance of Gabrielle 'Gabby' Petito


Published on September 19, 2021 4:45 AM
 
 
he FBI and North Port Police said they are searching an expansive nature reserve for the 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, with the Laundrie family claiming that they have not seen Brian since Tuesday. For the first time since Gabby Petito went missing, members of the Laundrie family spoke with investigators at their Florida home Friday evening, presumably about their son’s disappearance
 
A Florida woman whose disappearance has made national headlines visited an Old Colorado City pizzeria during a recent trip to Colorado Springs, the restaurant announced Thursday.

Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito "visited Slice420 in Old Colorado City around July 8, 2021, during a visit to Colorado Springs.

"Our hearts are absolutely broken for Gabby's friends and family as they search for her, and our entire team is praying without end that she is located safely and reunited with those who love her very soon," a statement on the restaurant's Facebook page read. "Should we find that we have any information that may be relevant to this missing person investigation, we will share that with law enforcement immediately."

The North Port Police Department said that they are now treating the investigation as two missing persons cases, adding that they "understand the community's frustration, we are frustrated too." The department also noted that "while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby's disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime."

Laundrie is 5'8" with brown eyes, short brown hair and trimmed facial hair, and was last seen wearing a hiking bag with a waist strap.

In a statement released late Friday night, Petito's family was not exactly sympathetic to Brian or the Laundrie family.

"All of Gabby's family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing," the statement read. Brian Laundrie, the fiancé of Gabrielle 'Gabby' Petito and a person of interest in her disappearance, is also reported as missing, according to authorities.

"The North Port Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations are currently searching for 23-year-old Brian Laundrie of North Port," police said in a statement late Friday (September 17) obtained by NBC News. "The family now claims that they have not seen Brian since Tuesday of this week."

Laundrie's family had requested to speak to police at the North Port, Florida home they shared with their son, who was traveling on a cross-country trip with Petito prior to her disappearance earlier this month, according to North Port spokesman Josh Taylor.

"We understand the community's frustration, we are frustrated too," North Port police said via NBC News. "For six days, the North Port Police Department and the FBI have been pleading with the family to contact investigators regarding Brian's fiancé Gabby Petito."

Petito's family, however, issued a statement saying Laundrie was not "missing," rather "hiding" amid being named as a "person of interest" in his fiancée's disappearance amid reports he'd been uncooperative during the investigation, according to the police.

"All of Gabby's family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing," the statement from the law office of Richard B. Stafford said.

Laundrie has not spoken publicly about Petito's disappearance as advised by his family attorney, Steven P. Bertolino, who claims authorities typically focus on the intimate partner in relation to similar cases.

The department confirmed it visited the Laundrie home for the first time during the investigation on Friday and relatives spoke "in detail" with investigators.

On Thursday (September 16), the Moab City Police Department released body camera footage showing Petito and Laundrie each speaking with an officer about a possible domestic incident.

In the nearly hourlong video, Petito broke down in tears and claimed she was struggling with her mental health while speaking to the officer.

"I'm sorry," Petito said after the officer asked her why she was crying. "We've just been fighting this morning. Some personal issues."

Laundrie, who appeared to have scratches on his face, told police, "She had her phone and was trying to get the keys from me. I said, 'Let's just step back and breathe,' and she got me with her phone." A responding officer wrote Petito slapped Laundrie after an argument, which led to Laundrie allegedly attempting to lock her out of the van they were traveling in. Petito then forced her way back into the van before Laundrie could drive off, according to the report.

The report states that both Petito and Laundrie told officers "they are in love and engaged to be married and desperately didn't wish to see anyone charged with a crime," NBC News reports.

Officers advised the couple to separate for the night, with Petito staying in the van, and no charges were filed in relation to the incident, according to the police report.

Petito's family said they last made communication with her in the days after the Moab incident.

Her mother, Nicole Schmidt, said the couple left Salt Lake City for Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming around August 24, which was the last time she spoke with her daughter via FaceTime.

Schmidt said she received a text from her daughter's phone until August 30, but isn't sure whether they were sent by Petito.

NBC News reports the last text sent from Petito's phone to her mother read: "No service in Yosemite."

Petito's last post on her Instagram account was shared on August 25, though a tagged location wasn't included.

According a report from the Moab City Police Department, the 22-year-old YouTube personality slapped Brian Laundrie after an argument but the couple didn't want to press charges. AceShowbiz -YouTube personality Gabrielle Petito went missing amid her cross-country road trip with her fiance Brian Laundrie. She was reported missing by her parents on September 11 after they failed to contact her for weeks.

Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, were childhood sweethearts in Suffolk County, New York. She graduated from Bayport-Blue Point High School in 2017, and lived in Blue Point, New York before moving in with Laundrie's parents in North Port, Florida in 2019. They departed from New York on July 2, 2021, for a four-month cross country trip in a 2012 Ford Transit Connect van converted to a camper. The couple was documenting their cross-country journey on Petito's YouTube account, 'Nomadic Statik', as well as their Instagram accounts, with the last video being posted in August 2021, three weeks prior to her disappearance. Domestic disturbance On August 12, 2021, the Moab, Utah police intervened in a domestic dispute between the couple that resulted in a roadside stop. A witness who called 911 claimed that the pair were fighting near the Moonflower Community Co-op over a phone and when Laundrie got back into the van. The witness also claimed that Petito struck Laundrie in the arm before trying to climb in through the driver's side window. When responding police arrived, they had to pull the van over near the entrance to Arches National Park and found Petito crying heavily in the passenger seat, and she told officers she was struggling with her mental health. The responding officer wrote in his report that, 'at no point in my investigation did Gabrielle stop crying, breathing heavily, or compose a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands.'

Laundrie stated that the two of them began arguing in town, citing emotional tension that had been building between the two due to traveling together for four to five weeks, resulting in an increase of arguments. Both agreed that Petito had struck Laundrie, as she was concerned that he would leave her alone and stranded in town after he got in the van. In the report, the officers characterized Petito as the suspect as 'the male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie to take a walk to calm down....she did not want to be separated from the male and began slapping him. She showed indications of separation anxiety. He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van.'

No charges were filed and the police arranged for Laundrie to spend a night in a hotel and for Petito to stay in the van, in order to separate the two after characterizing the incident as a mental/emotional health break instead of domestic assault.

Disappearance Petito stayed at a hotel near Salt Lake City International Airport on August 24, 2021, according to hotel staff. Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt, stated that Petito had told her they were traveling from Salt Lake City, Utah to Yellowstone National Park, and had last received a FaceTime call from her around August 24, and Petito claimed to be in Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming. Text messages also continued to be sent from Petito's phone to her mother until August 30, although her mother is unsure about their validity.

Laundrie returned to Florida with the van on September 1, without Petito. Petito's family reported her missing on September 11, 2021.

On September 17, officials reported that Laundrie disappeared.

Also on September 17, it became known that Tiktoker Miranda Baker posted a series of videos stating that she had picked up Laundrie on August 29 hitchhiking alone in Grand Teton National Park.

On September 17, 2021, the FBI released a missing person poster in effort of finding Gabrielle 'Gabb'y Petito. Laundrie is not speaking to police while the investigation is ongoing. He has hired a lawyer and is considered a person of interest in the case. His parents have denied contact with law enforcement and with the Petito family, instead directing all contact through the family lawyer who has advised Laundrie to refuse to comment. The lawyer also issued a statement claiming that in his experience intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focus on, and any statement made would be used against him, so he had advised Laundrie to remain silent. While he has not been charged with any crime as of September 17, 2021, the North Port police are investigating the case with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Suffolk County Police Department in New York.

The van was later recovered from Laundrie's family home and was processed by police to look for additional evidence.

Laundrie has not been seen since September 14, 2021, His parents reported him missing as of September 17, 2021. The FBI is actively searching for Laundrie and his fiance Gabrielle 'Gabb'y Petito.