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BLUE POINT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There are new developments in the search for missing Long Island native Gabby Petito.
Petito, 22, disappeared while on a cross country van trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie.
Laundrie returned to their home in Florida, but Petito didn’t.
Wednesday, police in Moab, Utah confirmed that their officers responded to an incident involving the two on August 12.
The circumstances surrounding what brought police to Laundrie and Petito were not released.
“Our officers did respond to an incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito on 12 August 2021 however, neither Brian or Gabrielle were the reporting party. Officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges,” Moab Police said in a statement.
Police in North Port, Florida are calling Laundrie a person of interest, which would be the case for anyone who was the last known contact of a missing person.
“You had someone who was in constant communication with their family on a pretty regular basis. Then, all of sudden, nothing. Then, all of a sudden, the person she was travelling with is back here and she’s not here. That person is unwilling to talk with us to this point. All of that is very, very concerning,” said Josh Taylor, public information officer for the North Port Police Department.
Police said the inability to speak with Laundrie is hampering the investigation. They have only been given the name of Laundrie’s attorney to ask their questions through.
That attorney, Steven Bertolino, is located on Long Island. He would not respond to questions about Gabby Petito’s whereabouts.
“It’s a very difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. On behalf of the Laundrie family, I hope that Miss Petito is located and that she’s reunited with her family,” he said.
Tuesday afternoon, a statement was issued by Gabby Petito’s parents urging Laundrie to come forward and tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her.
The Schmidt and Petito family are going through the worst moments of their lives. Their beautiful 22-year-old daughter is missing and the one person who can help find Gabby refuses to help. Brian Laundrie was traveling with Gabby in the Grand Teton-Yellowstone area. They were traveling together in Gabby’s 2012 Ford Transit van. This is where we believe Gabby was last seen.
Brian is refusing to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her. Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers.
The Schmidt and Petito family beg the Laundrie family to not ‘remain in the background’ but to help find who Brian referred to as the love of his life. How does Brian stay in the background when he is the one person that knows where Gabby is located?
The Schmidt and Petito family implore Brian to come forward and at least tell us if we are looking in the right area.
The search for Petito is a multi-state effort — from Suffolk County, where she departed, to Florida, where she lives, and Wyoming, where she was last heard from while hiking in Grand Teton National Park.
“I probably haven’t slept since Friday, haven’t eaten since Saturday,” her father Joseph Petito said.
He said he’s praying she will be found alive and well.
“If you’re hiking a trail and stuff like that and you see her, you can turn around ‘That’s Gabby … Gabby, here is my phone. You need to call your folks right now,’” he said.
Petito was documenting what appeared to be a happy adventure with Laundrie on YouTube and on social media.
Laundrie returned to their house in North Port, Florida with the van they were traveling together in, but without her.
“There has been no contact, so there is no story,” Joseph Petitio said when asked by CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff whether his family has spoken to Laundrie.
Gabby’s mother said Monday she last heard from her more than two weeks ago.
“The first couple of days, though I wasn’t getting responses, I believed she was in a place with no service. It was like day eight or nine when I really became concerned,” Nichole Schmidt said.
Suffolk County police and the FBI are also involved in the investigation. A National Parks Service spokesman said, “We are coordinating with multiple law enforcement agencies as part of the investigation into Gabrielle Petito’s whereabouts. As the investigation is ongoing, we do not have any further information to provide at this time.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.
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