Gabby Petito disappearance: No criminality suspected, being investigated as missing person case

National News

NORTH PORT, Fla. — Police in Florida who are investigating the disappearance of 22-year-old Gabby Petito said there is currently no criminality suspected in the case.

“Right now, we are investigating a missing person case,” said North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison during a Thursday press conference.

When asked if there was any criminality suspected, Garrison said “none at this time. Right now, it’s a missing person case.”

Petito, who is from Long Island, had left on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, on July 2. Petito’s mom, Nichole Schmidt, said she last heard from the 22-year-old on Aug. 30.

She was last seen traveling in a white, 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida license plate QFTG03. Investigators found the van on Sept. 11 at a home in North Port, Florida, where police said Petito lives with Laundrie and his parents. 

Authorities named Laundrie a “person of interest” on Wednesday. Laundrie’s family said in a statement they would remain in the background on the advice of counsel.

Garrison also said Thursday they could not bring Laundrie in for investigation for investigation in relation to him driving the van back home without Petito.

Police are still analyzing what was in the van and are working on establishing a timeline for when Laundrie left the west coast to return to Florida.

“Our focus is to find Gabby. My focus isn’t to bring Brian in right now, it’s to find Gabby,” Garrison said. “Brian is exercising his constitutional rights and I have to respect that. But as of right now, the focus is finding Gabby.

The Moab City Police Department in Utah released body camera footage following an alleged physical altercation between the couple, just weeks before she disappeared.

The hour-long body camera footage shows officers responding to a 911 call reporting an alleged domestic dispute between the pair on Aug. 12 in Utah.

Petito’s father spoke to the public on Thursday, begging the public for help in finding his daughter.

“What I need from everybody here is help,” Joe Petito said. “Because the goal is still not met. And the goal is to bring Gabby home safe.”

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