Gabby Petito update: Family attorney says Brian Laundrie’s whereabouts unknown
The attorney representing the family of Brian Laundrie, whose 22-year-old fiance, Gabby Petito, is missing, said his whereabouts were unknown Friday evening, hours after North Port police entered the Laundrie home to speak with the family "at their request," according to authorities.
Laundrie’s lawyer told investigators Brian Laundrie hasn’t been seen for days, according to FOX 5 New York reporter Jodi Goldberg.
Goldberg reported that Brian was last seen by his parents on Tuesday morning.
North Port Police Department Public Information Officer Josh Taylor told FOX News that prior to police entering the Laundrie family home Friday night they believed Brian to be inside.
The FBI was also at the Laundrie residence Friday night and agents were removing property from the home in an effort to assist in locating him, according to FOX 13 Tampa Bay reporter Evan Axelbank.
At 8:56 p.m. local time, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison posted an update to his Twitter account saying that the conversation between the Laundrie family and police had concluded.
"The conversation at the Laundrie home is complete. Once we have the details, a statement will be made. We ask for calm! Please let us work through this and information will be forthcoming," Garrison wrote.
"North Port Police are currently speaking with the Laundrie Family at their request. At this time, we are not speaking with Brian. More details when available," police wrote on their Twitter account.
As police spoke with the Laundrie family inside the residence, protesters gathered outside, carrying signs and chanting.
Police had asked for the protest not to take place, but demonstrators still showed up holding signs reading, "Bring Gabby home," "Truth always comes out #JusticeForGabby" and "Would she bring you home?"
The group which originally planned the protest scheduled a candlelight vigil to pray for Gabby's safe return. The vigil began at 7 p.m. local time Friday on the City Center Front Green, located at 4970 City Hall Blvd. in North Port.
Later Friday night, Petito's family released a statement in response to the news that Brian Laundrie's whereabouts were unknown.
"All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. He is on the run. Gabby is the one missing."
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Laundrie and Petito had been on a cross-country trip together in a white camper van. But Laundrie returned home alone to North Port, Florida with the van — 10 days before Petito was reported missing by her family, according to the North Port Police Department.
Laundrie has declined to speak with investigators, who had up until this point been communicating through the family’s attorney. The couple’s converted camper van was recovered by North Port police at the home shared by Petito, Laundrie and Laundrie’s parents, authorities said.
On Sept. 15, the Laundrie family shared a statement through their attorney:
This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family.
It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito- in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family.
On the advice of counsel the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment."
Petito’s family also released a statement through their lawyer, begging for information on the whereabouts of their daughter.
"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," the statement read.
Weeks before Petito was reported missing, a witness in Moab, Utah called police after seeing Petito and Laundrie in an altercation on Aug. 12. The witness called 911 to report a "possible domestic violence" incident between the couple on a street near the Moonflower Community Cooperative.
"The driver of the van, a male, had some sort of argument with the female, Gabbie [sic]," a responding officer wrote in the report after interviewing Petito, Laundrie and the witness.
"The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie [sic] to go take a walk to calm down, she didn’t want to be separated from the male, and began slapping him," the report said. "He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van, he tried to lock her out and succeeded except for his driver’s door, she opened that and forced her way over him and into the vehicle before it drove off."
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The police report and body camera video later released showed responding officers pulled the van over and had an encounter with the couple for over an hour. An emotional Petito sat in the back of a patrol vehicle on the side of the road and Laundrie remained outside their camper van as law enforcement officials sorted out what transpired
While the report and video show possible mental health concerns and tension between the two, officers ultimately determined the events did not add up to chargeable crimes. They also took steps to separate the pair for an evening in an effort to prevent escalation.
RELATED: Gabby Petito: Utah sheriff says missing woman case 'not related' to double murder
An employee at the co-op and her wife were later found shot to death on Aug. 18 at a campground outside Moab. In an ongoing effort to find Petito, authorities have been "actively looking into any connection" between the two cases.
Authorities in Utah have since ruled out a connection between the double homicide of the two newlyweds, 38-year-old Crystal Turner and 24-year-old Kylen Schulte, and Petito's disappearance.