We are currently speaking with the Laundrie family, not Brian, says police spokesman
North Port Police Public Information Officer Josh Taylor’s “The News with Shepard Smith” shortly after police entered the North Port home where Brian Laundrie and his parents live, and said that investigators “are speaking with the family, currently, we are not speaking with Brian.”
A physical search for 22-year-old missing Florida woman Gabby Petito is underway in Wyoming. Her family last heard from her more than three weeks ago after she embarked on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie.
Police have described Brian only as a person of interest.
Taylor added that he does “not believe” that Brian was home when authorities were speaking to his family.
Taylor confirmed that the Laundrie family called the police through their attorney to go to their residence and speak with them.
“It is, obviously, important for us to speak with the family, but that’s the second half of this,” said Taylor. “Hopefully, they’ll help us get to Gabby, our focus is obviously on bringing her home.”
Jim Schmidt, Petito’s stepfather, told “The News with Shepard Smith” that it’s “really hard to understand” why Brian hasn’t spoken to authorities.
“It’s incredibly frustrating, incredibly frustrating, and we just want them, you know, to speak up and help us, that’s all we’re asking,” said Schmidt during a Friday evening interview. “They’re not talking so our pleas are public now, and that’s really all we’re holding out hope for, that finally these pleas go answered, and we get some information.”
Gabby Petito’s stepfather on her disappearance
Schmidt flew to Wyoming to assist with the search effort.
The FBI is leading the search and has focused on the Grand Teton National Park area, where her family said she was last seen. An area of interest also includes Jenny Lake, where a witness said she and her husband saw Petito’s van parked at 5 p.m. on August 25.
Schmidt elaborated on the “complex” search effort in Wyoming.
“It involves multiple jurisdictions, that’s one thing we learned in this area, between the vast area here between local, county, National Park Service, there’s a lot of agencies all working together with this in cooperation with the FBI, as well as Florida and, in the beginning, New York agencies as well,” said Schmidt
A national hotline is accepting tips for anyone to come forward with information on Petito’s location: 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324).