October 19, 2021

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Body found near Grand Teton National Park matches description of Gabby Petito, FBI says

A photo of Gabby Petito smiling

Gabby Petito was reported missing by her mother on September 11. North Port Police Department

The lawyer for Gabby Petito’s family asks media to not contact them, says they will make a statement when ready

In a statement provided to Insider Sunday evening, Richard Stafford, lawyer for Gabby Petito’s family, asked the media not to contact them at this time.

“Due to today’s developments, we are asking the press and news media to have some decorum and sensitivity for Gabby’s family and allow them to grieve,” the statement said. “I will be in contact with you when Gabby’s family is ready to make a public statement.”

He also thanked the FBI, the Suffolk County Police Department, the North Port Police Department, and the Grand Teton Search and Rescue Team.

“Your tireless work and determination helped bring Gabby home to her parents,” he said. “The family and I will be forever grateful.”

Human remains believed to be Petito were found by search crews near Grand Teton National Park on Sunday.

Map shows the location where the body believed to be Gabby Petito was found

A body was found in the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest during the search for Gabby Petito on Sunday.

The FBI said the remains matched the description of Petito, who was said to have been camping in the area with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, prior to her disappearance.

Brian Laundrie’s lawyer said ‘news about Gabby Petito is heartbreaking’

Steven Bertolino, Brian Laundrie’s lawyer, said in a statement to Insider: “The news about Gabby Petito is heartbreaking. The Laundrie family prays for Gabby and her family.”

Laundrie, Petito’s boyfriend who was on a cross-country road trip with her when she went missing, returned home to Florida without her on September 1.

He has not cooperated with authorities investigating her disappearance “on the advice of counsel,” a prior statement from his lawyer said.

Laundrie’s parents told police on Friday that they have not seen him since Tuesday. As of Sunday, officials in Florida were still searching for him.

Gabby Petito’s dad says ‘she touched the world’ in tribute to his daughter

Joseph Petito tweeted a tribute to his daughter after the FBI announced they believe they found her body.

He tweeted a broken heart emoji and wrote: “#GABBYPETITO she touched the world.”

FBI said body found near Grand Teton National Park matches description of Gabby Petito

A body found Sunday near Grand Teton National Park was “consistent with the description” of Gabby Petito, FBI Agent Charles Jones said during a press conference.

Jones said a full forensic examination still needs to be conducted, but that the FBI extends “heartfelt condolences” to the Petito family.

He said cause of death has not yet been determined.

The body was found in the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

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An unidentified body has been found in Grand Teton National Park, where Gabby Petito is believed to have gone missing

Officials in Teton County, Wyoming, said a body was found in Grand Teton National Park on Sunday during the search for Gabby Petito, according to Brian Entin of News Nation.

The identity or gender of the body have not yet been confirmed.

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An Idaho store owner says missing Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie appeared ‘happy’ during a stop they made on their road trip

A local business owner in Idaho said that Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brain Laundrie were inside their store for about 15 to 20 minutes in late August and “seemed happy,” according to EastIdahoNews.com.

In an interview with the outlet, the owner of Rustic Row in Victor, Idaho said that the couple made a stop at their store on August 25 or 26.

“They told me they were traveling from Florida. They had just been to Teton Park and they said they were interested in going to Yellowstone and I told them they could go to the west entrance,” the owner told EastIdahoNews.com.

“They seemed happy and when they left, she hollered back from the door that they were engaged and then I said congratulations,” she continued.

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Family travel vloggers share video to social media claiming they saw Petito’s van in wooded area on August 27

Family travel vloggers Jenn and Kyle Bethune of the “Red White & Bethune” YouTube channel shared the video to social media on early Sunday. The footage was captured on August 27 around 6 p.m. in Grand Teton National Park’s Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area.

“We passed by a white van and both Kyle and I recognized that they had Florida plates (we are from Florida too) and wanted to stop to say hi, but the van was dark and it didn’t look like there was anyone there,” Jenn Bethune wrote on Instagram.

She said she reviewed GoPro footage from the trip on Saturday night and found footage of the van, which appears to be the 2012 Ford Transit van that Petito and Laundrie were traveling in.

“I INSTANTLY got a bone chilling feeling. I leapt up and ran to my laptop. I watched the rest of my footage and sure enough, her van was in the video,” Bethune wrote.

The Bethune family did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

Both Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie’s whereabouts remain unknown but police say her fiancé could hide in Florida nature reserve ‘for months’

North Port Police Department spokesperson Josh Taylor said Brian Laundrie could potentially hide out in the swamps of the Carlton Reserve “for months.”

In a Twitter update on Saturday, the North Port PD it’s searching the T. Mabry Carlton, Junior Memorial Reserve — known to locals as the Carlton Reserve — for Laundrie.

The heavily wooded area — with about 80 miles of hiking trails — is “vast,” police said.

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A North Port Police spokesperson said they are aware of a cellphone photo of a man who looks a “heck” of a lot like Brian Laundrie and is investigating it.

A passerby took the picture on Friday about two blocks from Laundrie’s parents’ home.

It was taken at around 5 pm, an hour and a half before investigators showed up at the family home after Laundrie’s attorney reported him missing.

Josh Taylor, the spokesperson for the North Port Police Department, told the New York Post that they were aware of the picture but cannot yet say whether it is of Laundrie.

Taylor also noted that the man in the image appears to have tattoos on his left arm, which Laundrie does not.

“Other than that, sure as heck looks like him,” he added, according to the Post.

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Aerial images and video show the vast scale of the area in which police are searching for Brian Laundrie

The scale of the area being scoured for missing Brian Laundrie is shown in new images and footage.

Gabby Petito’s fiancé, Laundrie, who is a person of interest in her missing person case, disappeared as of Tuesday, according to police.

On top of the search for Petito in Wyoming, police spent Saturday looking for Laundrie in Florida’s massive, wooded T. Mabry Carlton, Junior Memorial Reserve — known to locals as Carlton Reserve.

The scale can be seen in these photos tweeted by North Port Police Department:

Fox 13 Tampa Bay also published helicopter footage of the search from the air:

The 24,545-acre Carlton Reserve has more than 100 miles of trails, according to the reserve’s website.

The search is to resume Sunday morning, North Port Police stated.

A map shows the timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance during her cross-country road trip with Brian Laundrie

Photo illustration of Gabby Petito's disappearance

Map of timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance Google Maps/Insider

Gabby Petito, 22, and Brian Laundrie, 23, set out on their road trip from Blue Point, New York, on July 2.

Laundrie returned to his parents’ home in Florida on September 1 without Petito. Petito’s mother said she last spoke with her on August 24 and reported her missing on September 11.

This map shows everything we know about the timeline of the road trip and the stops they made along the way.

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The North Port Police Department said in a Twitter update on Saturday that police and FBI agents continue to search for Laundrie.

The agencies are “conducting a search of the vast Carlton Reserve for Brian Laundrie,” a Saturday morning update from the North Port Police Department said.

Dozens of law enforcement officers along with drones and bloodhounds are searching the Florida reserve for Gabby Petito’s missing boyfriend, according to the Daily Mail.

Ahead of his disappearance, Laundrie, who is a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, told his parents he’d be at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, which is part of the Carlton Reserve, the Daily Mail reported.

The reserve has about 80 miles of hiking trails, most of which are currently flooded, according to a warning posted on its website Saturday.

The North Port Police Department is expected to release more information as the search continues.

People protesting outside Laundrie’s family home have reportedly spotted a young man coming through the woods from behind the house, according to a Facebook Live.

A 20-minute Facebook Live taken outside Brian Laundrie’s home captures neighbors speaking about how some people have reportedly spotted a young man coming through the woods behind the house.

At one point in the livestream, two people approached the woman filming to tell her they were driving in the area and saw someone running on the street behind Laundrie’s home.

“We’ve been driving around here and saw this guy. We don’t know for sure it was him, but it looks exactly like him,” one woman said, showing a picture of the man.

The man pictured is wearing a brown T-shirt, sunglasses, and sweatpants. He appears to be wearing headphones and is looking down. It is unclear whether this man is Laundrie.

A TikToker claimed she and her boyfriend picked up Brian Laundrie hitchhiking alone in Wyoming around the time Petito was last seen

In a series of TikTok videos posted on Friday, Miranda Baker said she and her boyfriend picked up Brian Laundrie in Grand Teton National Park on August 29 at around 5:30 pm, four days after Petito’s family last heard from their daughter.

Baker said that Laundrie told them he was hiking alone.

“He approached us asking for a ride because he needed to go to Jackson and we were going to Jackson that night,” Baker said in one of the videos. “He offered to pay us like $200 to give him a ride like 10 miles. So, that was kind of weird.”

Laundrie reportedly told Baker that he had been camping for “multiple days without his fiancé,” who was “working on their social media page back at their van.”

When Baker mentioned to him that the couple was driving to Jackson Hole, Laundrie reportedly “freaked out” and asked them to pull over so he could get out out of the car, which they did.

“He said he was going to walk across the street to the parking lot, which was full of people, to continue hitchhiking,” Baker said.

The TikToker said she spoke to police before publishing her videos. Joshua Taylor, a spokesperson for the department, confirmed to The Independent they had spoken to Baker.

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Gabby Petito’s family says Brian Laundrie is ‘not missing, he is hiding’

The family of Gabby Petito responded Friday night to the news that Brian Laundrie is also missing.

“All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing,” the short statement provided by their attorney said.

Police said earlier Friday evening that they are also looking for Laundrie after his family said they have not seen him since Tuesday.

Brian Laundrie’s parents said they haven’t seen him in days and are cooperating in his disappearance, police say

The parents of Brian Laundrie, who is still a person of interest in Gabby Petito’s disappearance, told police they have not seen him in days, North Port Police Spokesperson Josh Taylor told local outlet WFLA.

He declined to say exactly when Laundrie’s parents saw him last, but The New York Times reported a police spokesman said they hadn’t seen him since Tuesday.

This contradicts earlier reports by police that they knew of Laundrie’s whereabouts as of Wednesday.

The Laundrie family has not been fully cooperative in the investigation into Petito’s disappearance. A lawyer for the family said Laundrie was not speaking to authorities “on the advice of council.”

But Taylor said Laundrie’s parents have been working with police on his disappearance.

“They are cooperating, now, in the search for their son,” Taylor said.

Chief Todd Garrison said Friday evening police had finished a conversation with Laundrie’s parents at their home and that information would be released soon.

Brian Laundrie is now missing as well, his attorney says.

Brian Laundrie in the desert with a cop behind him
This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. The couple was pulled over while they were having an emotional fight. Petito was reported missing by her family a month later and is now the subject of a nationwide search. The Moab Police Department via AP

“Be advised that the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie are currently unknown. The FBI is currently at the Laundrie residence removing property to assist in locating Brian. As of now the FBI is now looking for both Gabby and Brian,” Laundrie’s attorney said in a statement on Friday.

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Police entered Brian Laundrie’s home to speak with his family, North Port Police confirmed.

On Friday, authorities entered the home of missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito’s boyfriend Brian Laundrie, in North Port, Florida to speak with his family, North Port Police confirmed.

Law enforcement said they are not speaking to Laundrie, himself, at this time.

Local reporter Brian Entin posted a live-streamed video on Twitter titled, “Police just went into Brian Laundrie’s house” around 6:30 pm local time.

According to a video posted by Fox13 reporter Evan Axelbank, authorities began searching a car on the Laundrie property around 7:35 pm local time for a brief moment.

Police in Utah say there’s no connection to murders of ‘Moonflower’ staff

In a statement on Friday, Grand County Sheriff Steven White said investigators had concluded: “that the Gabby Petito missing person case is not related to the double-homicide case involving Crystal Turner and Kylen Schulte.”

Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, were involved in a domestic dispute in front of the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, Utah, that led a witness to call the police. Video of their subsequent encounter with law enforcement was released this week.

A day after that incident, August 13, was the last time Turner and Schulte had been seen alive. Schulte had worked as a cashier at Moonflower. A relative told a local news station that the couple had been on a camping trip when they said they had encountered a man who was “creeping them out.”

North Port police released an interview with Gabby Petito’s dad

Joe Petito

Joe Petito seen in a still from a video interview released by the North Port Police Department. North Port Police Department

The North Port Police Department released a video with Petito’s dad Joe Petito.

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Gabby Petito’s childhood friend worries something ‘devilish’ happened to her

Gabby Petito with friends Nikki Passannante and Steven Evans.

Gabby Petito with friends Nikki Passannante and Steven Evans. Courtesy of Nikki Pasannante

A longtime friend of Gabby Petito told Insider the missing 22-year-old wouldn’t have run off on her own.

“This is so out of character and I don’t think anything that’s going on is due to her own doing,” said Nikki Passannante, a 23-year-old waitress living in Long Island who grew up 15 minutes away from Petito.

“I think that something more devilish is going on,” she added.

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Brian Laundrie’s sister said police bodycam footage looked ‘typical’ of how couple fought

Cassie Laundrie

Cassie Laundrie, the sister of Brian Laundrie, speaks to ABC News’ “Good Morning America.” Good Morning America

Brian Laundrie’s sister said that police bodycam footage released by Utah authorities showing Laundrie and Gabby Petito in the aftermath of an argument seemed “typical” of how the couple fought.

“It looked typical of both of them,” Cassie Laundrie told ABC News’ “Good Morning America.” “Whenever they fight they would take a little break and come back and be fine because that’s what you do in a couple.”

In the bodycam footage, Petito appeared visibly distraught as the couple told police that they had gotten in an argument.

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Petito’s dad: ‘My gut tells me that something bad happened’

Joe Petito, father of missing Gabby Petito, gave a heartrending interview broadcast early Friday on CNN’s sister channel HLN.

“My gut tells me …” said Joe Petito, taking a long pause and closing his eyes, “my gut tells me that something bad happened. And I am never, I am never going to be able to hold my baby girl again.”

“But my head tells me that if I focus on that, I’m not going to be able to do the job that needs to be done, that her boyfriend or fiancé should be doing,” he continued.

“He should be leading this charge, and instead he’s not.”

It’s one of several condemnations of Brian Laundrie from Petito’s family, as he continues to refuse to help authorities in the search for the 22-year-old he was traveling with.

As of Friday, Petito has been declared missing for seven days.

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Investigators asked Gabby Petito’s family to stop discussing her relationship with Brian Laundrie. The family doesn’t know why.

Law enforcement have asked Gabby Petito’s family not to discuss her relationship with Laundrie, according to multiple reports.

An attorney for the family sent CBS News a statement saying: “Gabby’s family was instructed by law enforcement to not discuss the details of Gabby and Brian’s relationship.”

The request is a mystery to the family, Petito’s godmother told NewsNation’s Marni Hughes on her show “Prime.”

“We don’t know why,” Flora Rocco said.

On August 12, around a month before Petito was reported missing, police intervened in a fight between the couple in which police reported Petito had hit Laundrie.

Bodycam footage of the police stop was released Thursday, showing a distraught Petito. Police ultimately decided it was a mental health incident rather than domestic assault.

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Petito’s friend says she missed a meet-up and didn’t call on her birthday as planned

A friend of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie said that she planned to meet the couple, but that it never happened, The Sun reported.

The friend, whom The Sun did not name, told the outlet that Petito also didn’t call on her birthday, which was unlike her.

“[The] last time I talk [ed] to Gabby was the beginning of August when we were planning for me to meet her in Yellowstone after my birthday,” the friend told the paper. She said that a date hadn’t been set, but they had planned to talk and arrange the meet-up closer to the time.

“She wouldn’t wander off and not contact her family,” the friend said. “I know that for a fact.”

“She wouldn’t blow me off either,” she added.

Petito’s father, James Schmidt, also mentioned in an interview with DailyMail.com that Petito had planned to meet with a friend.

Petito’s godmother said the missing 22-year-old’s last text ‘just didn’t sound like a Gabby text’

A screenshot from NewsNationNow, showing Gabby Petito godmother Flora Rocco. A chyron reads: "Family reacts to Gabby's text message."

Gabby Petito’s godmother Flora Rocco talking to NewsNation. NewsNationNow

Gabby Petito’s godmother spoke to NewsNation Thursday about the missing 22-year-old’s last text message to her mother, saying it didn’t sound like it came from her.

It was the same interview where Rocco discussed the instruction not to speak about the couple’s relationship.

Petito had texted “No service in Yosemite” to her mother Nicole Schmidt on August 30. Schmidt said Wednesday that she did not believe Petito sent it.

“It just didn’t sound like a Gabby text,” godmother Flora Rocco told anchor Marni Hughes on Thursday.

“Also it mentioned Yosemite, which is another I think like 300 miles in the opposite direction, which also did not make sense for their itinerary.”

Petito’s last known location is thought to be Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, where an on-the-ground search has been taking place.

“No-one really knows, but I will say that Gabby’s mother does not think that was Gabby texting,” Rocco said.

Asked who else could have sent it, she said: “There’s only one other person that could have her phone. Maybe someone else did, but we don’t really know.”

It was an apparent reference to Petito’s boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who has refused to cooperate with police since he returned alone from the trip he and Petito set out on together.

Laundrie has been named a person of interest in Petito’s missing-person case.

Protesters gathered outside Brian Laundrie’s house with signs and chants to ‘SPEAK UP!’

A screenshot of footage showing protest signs reading: "Speak up" "Where is Gabby?" and "Bring Gabby home!"

Protests signs held outside Brian Laundrie’s home Thursday Fox News

Protesters gathered outside Brian Laundrie’s Florida home Thursday night, Fox News reported.

Laundrie’s unwillingness to help law enforcement find missing Gabby Petito prompted astonishment and anger from Petito’s family.

“SPEAK UP!” “Where is Gabby?” “Bring Gabby home” were some of the messages protesters wrote on signs and chanted, Fox reported.

Laundrie is a person of interest in the missing person case, and law enforcement believe he is likely to have important information that could lead to her whereabouts.

Laundrie’s sister spoke publicly about the disappearance, saying she hopes it’s “just a big misunderstanding.”

While Gabby Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, maintains his silence about the 22-year-old’s disappearance, his sister is speaking publicly — the first in Laundrie’s family to make a statement about the case.

“Obviously me and my family want Gabby to be found safe,” Laundrie’s sister, Cassie, told ABC News on Thursday “She’s like a sister and my children love her, and all I want is for her to come home safe and sound and this to be just a big misunderstanding.”

Earlier on Thursday, Petito’s family urged Laundrie’s parents to help find her.

Petito’s family says her fiancé’s family should help find her if they ‘have any decency left’

Gabby Petito’s family pleaded with the parents of her fiancé on Thursday, begging them in an open letter to help them find their daughter if they “have any decency left.”

“We are writing this letter to ask you to help find our daughter. We understand you are going through a difficult time and your instinct is strong to protect your son,” Petito’s family said in the letter read during a New York press conference held by their attorney Richard Stafford.

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Police say they don’t suspect a crime in Gabby Petito’s disappearance yet

gabby petito smiles

Gabrielle Petito, 22, who was reported missing on September 11, 2021 after traveling with her boyfriend around the country in a van and never returned home, is shown in this undated handout photo. North Port/Florida Police/Handout via REUTERS

Florida police say there is currently no criminality suspected in the mysterious disappearance of Gabby Petito, and authorities aren’t focused on bringing in her boyfriend for questioning.

“Right now, it’s a missing person case,” North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison told reporters during a press conference on Thursday. He added they don’t suspect criminality “at this time.”

Garrison said authorities can’t yet force Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie — who has refused to speak publicly or to investigators — to speak to police about the case.

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Police searching for Gabby Petito say they are analyzing phone data

North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said at a press conference on Thursday that phone data is being analyzed to help aid efforts in the search to find Gabby Petito.

“Right now we’re still analyzing all that data,” Garrison said.

Petito and her boyfriend kept lists of campgrounds they wanted to visit

Gabby Petito and her boyfriend kept lists of campsites to visit on their cross-country road trip on a site called Dyrt.

Dyrt is a social media network for campers where people share campground reviews, photos, and camping tips. The couple appeared to keep lists of campgrounds across several states, including Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah.

Petito is believed to have disappeared near Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

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Utah police considered charging Petito with domestic violence after the fight with boyfriend

Gabby Petito Brian Laundrie composite image Moab Police bodycam

A composite image showing Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, from bodycam footage from August 12, 2021 after police in Moab, Utah, stopped their van. Moab Police Department/Insider

Utah’s Moab City Police Department considered charging Gabby Petito with domestic violence last month following an altercation between her and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, on August 12.

Police opted not to when she said she didn’t intend to hurt him, according to police body camera footage released on Thursday.

Petito and Laundrie were pulled over by police officers about a month before Petito’s mother reported her missing.

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Utah police release bodycam footage from the August 12 fight between Petito and Laundrie

Utah’s Moab City Police Department has released bodycam footage of Gabby Petito and boyfriend Brian Laundrie after a fight between them on August 12 prompted a 911 call.

The footage, which records the police response, can be watched below, via ABC7 New York. It is a little over an hour long:

Police classified the incident as a mental health crisis and separated the couple for the night, putting Laundrie in a hotel.

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Police chief tells ‘Good Morning America’ that Brian Laundrie ‘has all the answers’ to where Petito is

North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison speaks on "Good Morning America" Thursday.

North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison speaks on “Good Morning America” Thursday. Good Morning America

North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison joined “Good Morning America” on Thursday to explain why Gabby Petito’s boyfriend is deemed a person of interest.

“Two people went on a trip and one person returned, and that one person is not talking to us,” he said. “He’s got all the answers. My number one question is, where’s Gabby?”

Garrison said there are no efforts to obtain a search warrant for Laundrie’s home at this time.

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Petito’s dad rips her boyfriend for ‘sitting at home in his LA-Z Boy chair’

Gabby Petito’s dad Jon on Thursday told “Fox & Friends First” that his main priority is “to make sure we get my daughter home first” and criticized her boyfriend for refusing to help in the search.

“I don’t care what happens to him right now,” Jon Petito said about his daughter’s boyfriend Brian Laundrie. “That can’t be my primary focus if he’s going to sit in the comfort of his home, you know, and get home-cooked meals, why my daughter’s out, you know, God knows where, you know, I don’t give two craps about him.”

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Petito’s stepfather said the silence of Brian Laundrie and his family is ‘unacceptable’

Gabby Petito has been missing for nearly three weeks.

Gabby Petito speaks to the camera in her only YouTube upload YouTube/Nomadic Statik

Petito’s stepfather said Wednesday that the silence of Brian Laundrie and his family is “unacceptable,” and that the missing 22-year-old “deserves better.”

James Schmidt spoke to DailyMail.com in Wyoming, where he had traveled from his Long Island home to assist in the search for Petito.

“It’s unacceptable,” Schmidt told DailyMail.com. “It’s unacceptable to us. We deserve more, Gabby deserves more information. She deserves to be found and brought home safe.”

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Private investigator says ‘minimal’ chance of finding someone alive after they’ve been missing for 2 weeks

Wyoming

An open road towards Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming. Edwin Remsberg/Getty Images

A private investigator told Insider the chance of finding a missing person alive after 2 weeks in the wild is “minimal.”

But John Van Steenkiste, the lead investigator for Florida-based private investigator Compass Investigations, also said someone with strong survival skills could survive.

He cited dangerous terrain, starvation, and extreme weather as possible threats.

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Search enters its 6th day, with press conference and bodycam footage to come

Officials continue to search for 22-year-old Gabby Petito in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, on Thursday.

Her step-father, James Schmidt, flew to the state to help look for her. He gave an interview Wednesday to DailyMail.com calling on her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, to cooperate with police.

GoFundMe set up to cover Petito family’s costs has hit $42,000

A screenshot of a GoFundMe titled "Help Us Find Gabby", showing $42,000

A screenshot of the GoFundMe titled “Help us find Gabby” GoFundMe/Gary Rider

A GoFundMe titled “Help us find Gabby” that Petito’s family shared hit $42,000 of its $50,000 goal early Thursday.

The organizer, Gary Rider, said he set the page up with the family’s permission. It was shared on the “Where’s Gabby” Facebook page Sunday, which Facebook has verified as having been created by her family.

“The family will need funds and resources to travel and pay for expenses related to an investigation and search on the other side of the country, any help is appreciated,” Rider wrote on the fundraiser’s page.

In a new statement, Laundrie’s lawyer says he still won’t speak to police

“In my experience, intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focuses their attention on in cases like this and the warning that ‘any statement made will be used against you’ is true, regardless of whether my client had anything to do with Ms. Petito’s disappearance,” the statement from attorney Steven Bertolino said.

“As such, on the advice of counsel, Mr. Laundrie is not speaking on this matter.”

Bertolino said the police naming Laundrie as a “person of interest” in the case won’t change his decision.

“Mr. Laundrie will continue to remain silent on the advice of counsel,” the statement continued.

The latest decision comes after Petito’s family called out Laundrie for refusing to cooperate with authorities.

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Utah police officers described a ‘mental health crisis’ that involved Petito striking Laundrie on August 12

Officers from the Moab Police Department said they responded to a report of a domestic violence incident between Petito and Laundrie on August 12 after a bystander contacted police.

The responding followed the van and pulled it over. He said the van was doing 45 mph in a 15 mph zone.

During the stop, the officer’s report said the van crossed a double yellow line, switched lanes, and swerved to the right, hitting with the curb.

The officer said he found Petito crying in the passenger seat. He wrote in the report that she cried and seemed distraught in their conversation, and told him she had been arguing with Laundrie and was struggling with her mental health.

Laundrie also told the officer of an “emotional strain” and ongoing arguments between him and Petito. According to the police report, Laundrie said Petito hit him when she thought he was going to drive away without her after an argument.

“After evaluating the totality of the circumstances, I do not believe the situation escalated to the level of domestic assault as much of that as a mental health crisis,” the officer wrote.

He said he suggested that Laundrie and Petito remain separated for the night.

While the couple didn’t want to separate, the officer wrote, they ultimately agreed. Petito kept the van while Laundrie checked into a hotel for the evening, according to the police report.

Another officer said that Laundrie and Petito “reported they are in love and engaged to be married and desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime.” Pratt said both Petito and Laundrie told him that Petito suffered from “serious anxiety.”

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Petito’s mom said she doesn’t believe the last text message she received from Petito’s phone was from her daughter

Gabby Petito

Gabby Petito in an undated photo Courtesy of Schmidt and Petito family

“No service in Yosemite,” the August 30 message from Petito’s phone read, according to reports from DailyMail.com and the New York Post.

The text was provided to the outlets by Nichole Schmidt, Petito’s mother.

“That text was not from Gabby, I know it!” Schmidt told DailyMail.com.

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The Petito family released a scathing statement, saying ‘Brian left Gabby in the wilderness with grizzly bears and wolves while he sits in the comfort of his home’

“Brian claims he wants to sit in the background while we search for Gabby in the wilderness of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Brian left Gabby in the wilderness with grizzly bears and wolves while he sits in the comfort of his home,” a lawyer for the family said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

The family said Laundrie was selfish for his decision to remain silent amid the ongoing search for Petito.

“Brian, your silence is reprehensible! We beg you to do the right thing and help us bring Gabby home. Brian, whatever happened in Wyoming, happened. The only thing you can control is what you do now. Tell us where Gabby is. You tarnish your love for her with your silence.”

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Police named Laundrie as a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance Wednesday morning

North Port, Florida, police named Laundrie as a person of interest on Wednesday, and also said that he had refused requests to be interviewed by investigators.

Officers also fleshed out the timeline of Petito’s disappearance. They said that Laundrie returned to the Florida home where he and Petito had been living with his parents on September 1, ten days before she was reported missing.

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Petito’s stepfather and a friend have gone to Wyoming to search for her, a lawyer for the family told Insider

Gabby Petito

Gabby Petito in an undated photo Courtesy of Schmidt and Petito family

Petito’s stepfather, James Schmidt, and a family friend left from New York to Wyoming’s Jackson Hole on Tuesday. Petito’s last known location is believed to be in the state’s Grand Teton National Park.

“They’re trying to stay as close as they can to the Grand Teton National Park. That’s the closest place I think they can find, so that they can spend as much time as possible looking for Gabby,” Schmidt and Petito family lawyer Richard Stafford told Insider’s Natalie Musumeci.

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Petito’s mom said the couple called off their engagement prior to their trip

Laundrie and Petito were engaged in July 2020, according to posts on both of their Instagram pages.

“Brian asked me to marry him and I said yes! @bizarre_design_ you make life feel unreal, and everyday is such a dream with you 🤍,” Petito wrote on Instagram.

Laundrie said: “My biggest fear is that one day I’ll wake up and it will have all been a dream, because that is what every second has felt like since the moment we found each other. Till death do us part or until I wake up, I’m so happy the answer was yes, Love you hunny.”

But Schmidt said Tuesday the couple had called off their engagement ahead of their trip because they were too young to be married.

“I think they kind of put that on hold just because they felt it was a little fast. They were excited at first, but then they were like, let’s just wait, we’re very young. So they were really just boyfriend and girlfriend,” mother Nichole Schmidt told DailyMail.com.

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Petito’s Instagram account was down for four hours early Wednesday

The account was down for about four hours, from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Instagram said it removed the account by mistake when it was investigating fake accounts.

“The account was removed in error for impersonation and has now been reinstated,” an Instagram spokesperson told Insider.

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Utah police said they were called to an unspecified ‘incident’ involving Petito and Laundrie in August

Gabby Petito and fiance Brian Laundrie

Gabby Petito and fiance Brian Laundrie Courtesy of Schmidt and Petito family

The Moab City Police Department in Utah said it was called to an “incident” involving the couple on August 12, Chief of Police Bret Edge told Insider Wednesday.

“Our officers did respond to an incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito on 12 August 2021,” said Edge. “However, neither Brian or Gabrielle were the reporting party.”

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Petito meticulously documented her road trip on Instagram and YouTube but stopped posting on August 25

A screenshot of Gabby Petito's Instagram page

The couple embarked on their road trip on July 2 from Blue Point, New York, Schmidt said.

Both Petito and Laundrie regularly posted about their van-life journey on Instagram. They also launched a YouTube channel on August 19 dedicated to their van life journey and posted just one video before Petito disappeared.

Petito meticulously documented her travels throughout the US, including the couple’s trips to national parks in Utah. Several of the posts included photos of her and Laundrie embracing and kissing.

Her last post to Instagram was on August 25. The photo appeared to be taken in front of a mural of monarch butterflies in Ogden, Utah.

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Petito was reported missing by her mom, Nichole Schmidt, on September 11

Grand Teton National Park

Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, reported Petito missing to Suffolk County, New York, police at 6:55 p.m. on Saturday, September 11. She said she last spoke to her daughter in an August 24 FaceTime call and believed her last known location was Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

“I just want people to keep looking and not stop until we find her,” Schmidt told Newsday. “We won’t stop until we find her.”

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