Outside Laundrie’s Florida home, the mood was angry. Some protesters carried signs reading, “Speak out,” while others angrily chanted, “Where’s Gabby?” The signs were referring to missing person Gabby Petito, who disappeared after a trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, earlier this month.
“We’re standing up for somebody who’s lost that’s in our city, and we’re a big family in our city, in North Port,” one of the protesters said to Fox News. “And we are definitely going to do whatever we can to help the family find this missing daughter.”
Other protesters’ signs read “#justiceforgabby”, “Truth always comes out”, and “Would she bring you home?”
“We all have children. If it were our child, we would want everyone to gather up and help us find our child too. So we’re going to do whatever it takes,” the protester said.
Laundrie currently lives at his parents’ home. Two of Laundrie’s neighbors, a mother and daughter, described the neighborhood as “family-friendly.”
“We are really saddened by this whole situation,” the neighbor told WTSP. “We can’t believe it’s so close to home…. I think it’s just a terrible thing that [Laundrie] is not speaking up and saying anything for [Gabby Petito’s] family to hear.”
The neighbor was referring to Brian Laundrie’s ongoing silence regarding Gabby Petito’s disappearance. Laundrie has been named a “person of interest” by the police department, but he has reportedly refused to cooperate with the investigation to find his missing girlfriend. He has been accused of withholding information on her disappearance from North Port Police.
Cassie Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s boyfriend’s sister, appeared on Good Morning America on Friday, Sept. 17. Unlike her brother, she has chosen to speak out. She says she has told the police everything she knows.
“I haven’t been able to talk to him. I wish I had information where I could give more,” Cassie said in the interview. “…Obviously 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 found and this to be just a big misunderstanding,” Cassie continued.
Petito’s father Joe lashed out after Cassie Laundrie’s remarks. He thinks the family has taken his daughter’s disappearance lightly.
“If that’s that family’s version of love, to just ignore and not care that someone’s gone and people are looking for them and entire country’s looking for them, I mean, that explains how we got to where we are today. Because I mean, look at their version of what they call love,” Joe Petito said of Cassie’s remarks.
Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old woman from Long Island, was reported missing on Sept. 11 after departing for a cross-country roadtrip with Brian Laundrie, her boyfriend. The couple reportedly fought before they left for their trip.
On Sept. 14, Laundrie released a suspicious statement about his girlfriend’s disappearance. He has chosen to keep a low profile for the duration of the investigation. However, he has hired a lawyer. The North Port Police, who named him a person of interest on Wednesday, say he’s not doing much to help.
“[He] has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators” or “provided any helpful details,” North Port Police said. Clearly, this is what the protesters won’t tolerate.
His failure to cooperate hasn’t changed. Although the couple departed for their trip in July, Laundrie returned to his North Port home on Sept. 1 without his girlfriend. Laundrie currently shares the home with his parents. Before her disappearance, it was Gabby Petito’s home as well.
Gabby Petito was reported missing by her family on Sept. 10. Laundrie hasn’t said much since. Another protest is planned for this evening.