Watch CBS News

Gabby Petito Search: Parents Say Boyfriend Brian Laundrie's 'Silence Is Reprehensible'; Police In Utah Confirm Responding To Incident Involving Couple

(CBS) - There are new developments in the search for missing person Gabby Petito. Her parents in New York have issued another urgent plea calling on her boyfriend Brian Laundrie to speak with investigators about her disappearance, including where he last saw her.

Petito, 22, disappeared while on a cross country van trip with Laundrie.

Laundrie returned to their home in Florida, but Petito didn't.

On Wednesday, police in Moab, Utah, confirmed that their officers responded to an incident involving the two on August 12.

Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito (credit: Instagram/GabsPetito)

The circumstances surrounding what brought police to Laundrie and Petito were not released.

"Our officers did respond to an incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito on 12 August 2021 however, neither Brian or Gabrielle were the reporting party. Officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges," Moab police said in a statement.

Petito's family issued a new statement Wednesday, calling on Laundrie to speak out about what he knows about her disappearance:

Every day the search for Gabby continues the Schmidt and Petito family becomes more desperate. They are frantically searching for answers and information in their daughter's disappearance while Brian sits in the comfort of his home.

Brian claims he wants to sit in the background while we search for Gabby in the wilderness of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.

Brian left Gabby in the wilderness with grizzly bears and wolves while he sits in the comfort of his home. In his home!

Brian, how could you do this to Gabby? You selfishly remain silent while Gabby is all alone in the wilderness.

Brian, your silence is reprehensible! We beg you to do the right thing and help us bring Gabby home.

Brian, whatever happened in Wyoming, happened. The only thing you can control is what you do now. Tell us where Gabby is.

You tarnish you love for her with your silence.

Police in North Port, Florida, say they are now the lead investigators in the case, and are working with the FBI and Suffolk County police. They are calling Laundrie a person of interest, which would be the case for anyone who was the last known contact of a missing person.

Police say Laundrie returned to North Port on Sept. 1, 10 days before Petito's family reported her missing. They say the van they used for the trip was found at Laundrie's home, which he shares with his parents, on Sept. 11.

"As a father, I can imaging the pain and suffering Gabby's family is going through. We are pleading with anyone, including Brian, to share information with us on her whereabouts in the past few weeks. The lack of information from Brian is hindering this investigation. The answers will eventually come out. We will help find Gabby and we will help find anyone who may be involved in her disappearance," said North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison.

Police have only been given the name of Laundrie's attorney to ask their questions through. That attorney, Steven Bertolino, is located on Long Island. He would not respond to questions about Gabby Petito's whereabouts.

"It's a very difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. On behalf of the Laundrie family, I hope that Miss Petito is located and that she's reunited with her family," he said.

The search for Petito is a multi-state effort — from Suffolk County, where she departed, to Florida, where she lives, and Wyoming, where she was last heard from while hiking in Grand Teton National Park.

"I probably haven't slept since Friday, haven't eaten since Saturday," her father Joseph Petito said.

He said he's praying she will be found alive and well.

"If you're hiking a trail and stuff like that and you see her, you can turn around 'That's Gabby … Gabby, here is my phone. You need to call your folks right now,'" he said.

Petito was documenting what appeared to be a happy adventure with Laundrie on YouTube and on social media.

A National Parks Service spokesman said, "We are coordinating with multiple law enforcement agencies as part of the investigation into Gabrielle Petito's whereabouts. As the investigation is ongoing, we do not have any further information to provide at this time."

All tips with information on Petito's disappearance can be reported to 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.