The boyfriend of missing girl Gabby Petito is now considered a person of interest in her disappearance, according to reports.
WINK News reports that Florida police said they are considering Brian Laundrie, 23, a person of interest at this point because so far, he has refused to speak to law enforcement. Shortly after Laundrie returned home from a road trip without Petito, he lawyered up and has not answered investigators’ requests for information.
“Right now, technically, we’re not even sure we have a crime,” Joshua Taylor, public information officer for the City of North Port, said. “What we have is a missing person.”
“I would say that he’s a person of interest at this point. Again, just because we need to talk to him. We need to rule that out or move forward.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 22-year-old Petito and Laundrie embarked on a cross-country road trip this summer, but Laundrie returned to Florida without her, and her whereabouts are not known.
Gabby last spoke with her mother, Nicole Schmidt, via FaceTime on August 23 or 24, when she may have been in Wyoming. Her mother also received a text message from Gabby’s phone on August 30 but said she wasn’t certain her daughter wrote the message.
Schmidt declined to share details about the message in an interview with “CBS Mornings” that aired Tuesday.
Florida authorities confirmed this week that Laundrie returned to North Port, Florida, with the converted camper he and Gabby had been traveling in, but without his girlfriend.
While speaking to DailyMail, Schmidt said that Laundrie and his parents have made no efforts to return her messages or help her while her daughter remains missing.
“I texted Brian’s mom that I was trying to get in touch with Gabby. I also texted Brian. I got no replies,” Schmidt said. “I knew something was wrong. I felt something was off and I needed to get her reported missing immediately.”
A family attorney for Pepito’s parents, Steve Bertolino, said that additional searches for Pepito are underway.
“It is our understanding that there is a search either at the moment, or commencing shortly out in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming,” Bertolino said in a statement. “And on behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that Ms. Petito is located, and that she’s reunited with her family.”
Gabrielle Petito is described as a white female with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is reportedly feet 5 inches tall and 110 pounds, with several tattoos, including one on her forearm that reads, “let it be.”
Anyone with information is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.
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[Feature Photo: Gabrielle Petito/Instagram]