After days of not cooperating with authorities in the Gabby Petito search, her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, now seems to be hiding from police. The Laundrie family says that they haven’t seen him since Tuesday. They refer to him as “missing.”
The Petitos, on the other hand, said through a brief statement from their attorney that “all of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing.”
James Schmidt, Gabby Petito’s stepfather, said on CNN Friday night that he had only just been informed that the Laundrie family did not know Brian’s whereabouts.
“I am very caught off guard about hearing what we just heard,” he added.
It is not clear what happened. Authorities in North Port, a Florida town about 85 miles south of Tampa, said late Sept. 18 that they do not consider Laundrie a suspect in Petito’s disappearance after the couple took a cross-country trip. He has been labeled a “person of interest.” Protestors are appalled that he has not yet been named a suspect. Many arrived at his home chanting “Where’s Gabby?” The vocal protests may have been one reason Brian Laundrie decided to hide.
The statement said that the North Port Police Department and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations are working together on a “multiple missing person” investigation.
Another Development from TikTok
In another development in the Gabby Petito disappearance, a TikTok user claimed that she gave Brian Laundrie a ride, as he was hitchhiking alone, at Grand Teton National Park on Aug. 29.
The TikTok user, Miranda Baker, says that when she mentioned “Jackson Hole,” about 24 minutes after she picked him up, he became very agitated and needed to get out of the car.
It was on the following day, Aug. 30, that Petito’s mother received a text from her daughter’s phone that simply said: “No service in Yosemite.” Since the text message was not personalized in any way it is believed that someone could have gotten hold of Gabby Petito’s phone. It is not clear who sent the text.
Yosemite National Park is in Eastern Central California. There is no evidence aside from the text that Brian Laundrie and his girlfriend ever arrived there.
Nicole Schmidt says she doesn’t believe that Gabby Petito wrote the text. “The van was in Florida on the 1st,” she has said. “I think I can do the math.” Laundrie returned to Florida alone that day.
If Miranda Baker is correct – and she did, in fact, give Brian Laundrie a ride – then the timeline of events is very important.
Laundrie Family Statements
Her family reported Gabby Petito missing on Sept. 11.
On Sept. 14, Brian Laundrie issued the following statement, “I understand 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 reunited with her family.”
That is a strangely formal way to refer to the disappearance of your intimate partner.
That statement also said that Laundrie “on the advice of counsel” would not be making “further comment” but would stay “in the background at this juncture.”
Laundrie has never publicly shown emotion about his girlfriend’s disappearance. It has previously been reported that police were called to the park in August after an allegedly violent altercation between Petito and Laundrie. In a TV appearance on Good Morning America, Cassie Laundrie, his sister, downplayed that fight and said the couple always bickered.
But some have speculated that the couple may have, in fact, broken up that day.
Petito and Laundrie left Blue Point, New York, on July 2 in a 2012 Ford Transit van registered to Gabby Petito. They were scheduled to arrive in Oregon in October. Until late August, they both documented the trip on Instagram, posting beautiful photos.
As of Sept. 19, the police have not taken steps to name Brian Laundrie as a suspect.