gabby petito

Attorney Says Fiancé Brian Laundrie Missing as Search for Gabby Petito Continues

Laundrie's family talked to police for the first time Friday, according to authorities

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The whereabout of Gabby Petito's fiancé, a person of interest in her disappearance, were unknown late Friday night, WFLA, the NBC station in Tampa reported, citing an attorney for his family.

Brian Laundrie, Petito's fiancé, returned to their Florida home alone after the two went on a cross-country road trip together. While Laundrie hasn't spoke to investigators, a spokesman for the North Port Police Department said officers were talking to his relatives Friday, at their request.

North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said in an interview later that Brian was not at the house at the time police spoke with the family, and said that "I don't know where he's at right now. You know, he could be anywhere."

The police conversation on Friday marked the first time that any member of the Laundrie family who has been in contact with Brian has agreed to talk with officers involved in the investigation into Petito's disappearance. Garrison said he believes they have at least some information that could help in the investigation.

Authorities confirmed Wednesday that Brian Laundrie, the fiancé of missing 22-year-old Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, is officially considered a person of interest who is “refusing to help the investigation.” The couple was on a cross-country road trip when Petito went missing in Wyoming; Laundrie returned to their home in North Port, Fla., without Petito nearly two weeks before she was reported as missing.

"Gabby lived in that house too, in North Port. So if Brian returned without Gabby, you would think people would be asking: 'Where is Gabby at?' There had to be some type of conversation or dialogue with the parents and other family member," Garrison speculated. "I'm a reasonable person, but I would believe that, yes, they do know something."

The only other member of the family who has spoken out was Laundrie's sister, Cassie, who revealed in an interview that she hasn't spoken to her brother since he returned to his Florida home from his and Petito's cross-country "van life" trip without Petito.

In an interview with ABC News, Cassie Laundrie said that although she hasn't talked to her brother, she has cooperated with police.

"I haven't been able to talk to him. I wish I could talk to him. I cooperated every way that I can. I wish I had information or I would give more. This is all I have. I gave it to the police," she said.

Calling Petito "a sister," Cassie said that she hopes for her safe return.

"Me and my family want Gabby to be found safe. She's like a sister and my children love her and all I want is for her to come home safe and," Cassie said.

The parents of Petito had their first inkling something may be off after receiving a text message from her in late August, the last communication they have had with her — or at least her phone.

According to an attorney for the Petito family, the 22-year-old said in a text to her mother "no service in Yosemite." That raised eyebrows because the last time they spoke to her, Petito and her fiancé Laundrie were on their way to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming — some 800 miles from the California park mentioned in the text.

Petito's mother, Nicole Schmidt, received that text on Aug. 30, and she still doesn't know for sure who text it. But now her husband, Jim Schmidt, is helping lead the search in Wyoming for the missing Long Island woman, who disappeared during a cross-country road trip with Laundrie.

Schmidt and other officials can't even begin to narrow down their search area for Petito, because Laundrie still hasn't spoken with police. Schmidt said in a statement Friday that he and the family was "glad to hear of any communication and dialog" from the Laundrie family, and that they hope "the authorities could possible get information to bring Gabby home."

Laundrie's attorney, Steven Bertolino, said the Laundrie family is hoping for Petito's safe return.

Earlier in the week, police labeled Laundrie a person of interest in the case, a label that Bertolino shook off as nothing more than procedure.

Petito's family reported her missing on Saturday but they hadn't heard from her in three weeks, officials have said. The converted camper Petito and Laundrie had been traveling in returned to Florida, Laundrie apparently with it, two weeks ago. But Petito was not with him, police said. Forensic analysis of the van as well as phone data is ongoing.

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