North Port Police Take Over Gabrielle Petito Case

NEW: Both families have issued statements Wednesday afternoon.

The family of Gabrielle Petito said: "Every day the search for Gabby continues the Schmidt and Petito family becomes more desperate. They are frantically searching for answers and information in their daughter’s disappearance while Brian 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. In his home!

See more of the family statement at this link.

The attorney for the Laundrie family, Steven P. Bertolino, issued this statement:

"Many people are wondering why Mr. Laundrie would not make a statement or speak with law enforcement in the face of Ms. Petito's absence. 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. As such, on the advice of counsel Mr. Laundrie is not speaking on this matter.

The statement also addresses Laundrie's being named a person of interest. More here:

NORTH PORT -- The investigation into the disappearance of Gabrielle Petito is being taken over by police in the city where she and her boyfriend live.

North Port police spokesman Josh Taylor says the van the 22-year-old Petito and boyfriend Brian Laundrie used on a sightseeing trip through the southwest has been processed for evidence. He returned with the van, alone, September 1st. Police describe him as a person of interest.

Police chief Todd Garrison says Laundrie is hindering the investigation by not speaking to them. Laundrie's only communication with police is a statement through his attorney saying he and his family are staying "in the background" during the search for Petito. "Saying they reman in the background is not good enough. We need the details," Taylor told reporters. As of right now, Taylor says, they have no reason to believe a crime was committed in the city of North Port.

Taylor says his agency has video footage but doesn't know yet whether it will be helpful. Police are also looking into reports that Petito's Instagram account has been taken down.

Petito's parents reported her missing Saturday (11th) after not hearing from her since late August, when she and Laundrie were believed to be at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Taylor says police are working with agencies in Moab, Utah, where the pair was reportedly involved in a domestic incident that resulted in no charges.

Taylor is asking those with tips to call the nationwide FBI hotline, 1-800-CALL-FBI or 1-800-225-5234.

Photo: North Port Police/Canva

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