The family of missing New York woman Gabby Petito issued a scathing statement Tuesday night calling on her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, to tell them where he last saw her in Wyoming.
Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, were road tripping across the U.S. in her white Ford Transit van, which police have recovered as part of their investigation into her disappearance. She was last seen in late August at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, according to police, and she was reported missing over the weekend after her parents hadn’t heard from her in a week.
He drove her van back to Florida without her, hired a lawyer and has not publicly explained why. A search effort is underway in Wyoming which he is not taking part in.
MISSING GABBY PETITO: FIANCE’S ATTORNEY SAYS SEARCH UDNERWAY IN GRAND TETON AFTER HIS RETURN TO FLORIDA
“Brian is refusing to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her,” the family alleged in a joint statement. “Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers.”
Laundrie has not been charged with a crime or accused of playing a role in Petito’s disappearance. Police in North Port, Fla., called the case “odd” and told the New York Post that his parents declined to make him available to speak with investigators.
“The Schmidt and Petito family implore Brian to come forward and at least tell us if we are looking in the right area,” the statement concluded.
Earlier Tuesday, Laundrie’s attorney Steven Bertolino said the fiancé’s family hoped that Petito would be found and reunited with her parents.
The Schmidt and Petito family are going through the worst moments of their lives. Their beautiful twenty-two year old daughter is missing and the one person that can help find Gabby refuses to help. Brian Laundrie was traveling with Gabby in the Grand Teton – Yellowstone area. They were traveling together in Gabby’s 2012 Ford Transit van. That is where we believe Gabby was last seen.
Brian is refusing to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her. Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers.
The Schmidt and Petito family beg the Laundrie family to not “remain in the background” but to help find who Brian referred to as the love of his life. How does Brian stay in the background when he is the one person that knows where Gabby is located?
The Schmidt and Petito family implore Brian to come forward and at least tell us if we are looking in the right area.
“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,” Bertolino said. “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 statement urged Laundrie to do the opposite.
FLORIDA POLICE CALL MISSING WOMAN’S CASE ‘ODD’
“The Schmidt and Petito family beg the Laundrie family to not ‘remain in the background’ but to help find who Brian referred to as the love of his life,” they said. “How does Brian stay in the background when he is the one person that knows where Gabby is located?”
The family believes Petito was last seen in the Grand Teton or Yellowstone areas.
Laundrie returned to his parents’ house this week, where police seized the van as evidence in the missing person case.
Police from Petito’s native Suffolk County, N.Y., and Laundrie’s North Port, Fla., as well as the FBI are involved in the investigation.
Authorities described the missing Petito as White and about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighing around 110 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads “let it be.”
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Petito and Laundrie started their trip on July 2, and the missing woman’s mother said during a Monday news conference that they had regularly been in contact until the last week of August.
“The last text I got from her was on Aug. 30,” Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said. “I don’t know if that was her texting me or not.”