New York Post
Tell us where Gabby is
Family’s plea to boyfriend as disturbing new details emerge in case of missing LI girl:
As police searched for Gabby Petito, 22, her parents were furious that boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, (seen with her in Arches National Park) won’t talk to either them or authorities.
The family of missing Long Island woman Gabby Petito accused her boyfriend and his parents on Thursday of withholding information on her whereabouts — as video emerged showing her in hysterics in the weeks leading up to her disappearance last month.
For the third time this week, Petito’s family begged Brian Laundrie and his family to start cooperating with investigators, slamming their silence as “infuriating.”
“The [Petito] family is devastated,” the Petito family’s attorney, Richard Stafford, said at a press briefing outside his law office in Bohemia, LI. “Every day that this goes on, they get more and more devastated.”
“They’re at the point that that desperation has turned to anger. They know that the Laundries know where their daughter is and they will not tell them. That’s infuriating.”
The latest plea to the Laundries came amid other developments in the mysterious case:
Cops in Moab, Utah, released body-camera footage of the couple recorded on Aug. 12, when they were questioned over a potential domestic incident following a scuffle.
That fight happened at a food co-op in Moab, one day before a worker there was last seen alive.
North Port, Fla., police said they had no evidence of “criminality” in Petito’s disappearance and acknowledged that they had yet to speak with Laundrie
Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, were on a cross-country drive together when the Blue Point native vanished last month. Laundrie returned to the home they shared with his parents in North Port on Sept. 1.
Laundrie immediately lawyered up, and his parents have refused to put cops in touch with their son. The Laundries have also ignored messages from Petito’s family, who reported her missing to authorities in Suffolk County, LI, on Sept. 11.
But Laundrie’s sister, Cassie, told ABC News on Thursday that her family wants Gabby found safe.
“She’s like a sister, and my children love her, and all I want is for her to come home safe and sound and this to be just a big misunderstanding,” Cassie Laundrie said in a clip of an interview that was slated to air in full on “Good Morning America” on Friday.
Petito and Laundrie left from New York for a coast-to-coast trip on July 2, according to Schmidt, visiting several national parks in a converted Ford Transit van throughout that month and August.
But tensions flared between the pair on Aug. 12 outside the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, Utah, with cops later pulling them over on a report of a possible domestic assault.
On bodycam footage released on Thursday, a jittery Petito is seen telling police officers that she suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety, while admitting that she and Laundrie had been arguing.
“I have really bad OCD,” Petito, in shorts and a crop top, tells the officers while sobbing. “I was apologizing to him saying, ‘I’m sorry I’m so mean.’ We’ve been fighting all morning. He wouldn’t let me in the car before . . . He told me I needed to calm down.”
In the video, Laundrie separately tells the police officers, “She just gets worked up sometimes, I try to distance myself from her. I locked the car.”
“I said, ‘Let’s just take a breather.’ She had her phone. I was trying to push her away to say, ‘Let’s just take a step back,’ ” he tells them, saying Petito hit him with her phone.
Laundrie also tells the officer that Petito had grabbed the wheel of their van to make him pull over as police followed them.
The couple, who told police they were in love and didn’t want to press charges, agreed to spend the night apart — Petito in the van and Laundrie in a hotel arranged by cops.
The fight happened one day before Moonflower co-op worker Kylen Schulte, 24, and her wife, Crystal Turner, 38, were last seen alive. Their bullet-riddled bodies were found at a campsite in the La Sal Mountains on Aug. 18.
Laundrie’s lawyer, Steve Bertolino, issued a statement Thursday evening saying police would determine whether the two cases “deserve to be linked.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said there was no evidence of “criminality” in the case, but said they still hadn’t spoken to Laundrie.
“Two people went on a trip, one person returned,” Garrison said. “And that person that returned isn’t providing us any information.”
But, he said, “this is a missing-person case, all right? And our focus is to find Gabby.”
“My focus isn’t to bring Brian in right now. It’s to find Gabby. Brian is exercising his constitutional right, and I have to respect that.”
Investigators were still analyzing evidence, including the Ford Transit van registered to Petito, which was seized by police from Laundrie’s home on Saturday.
Garrison said Bertolino, Laundrie’s lawyer, turned over a piece of “property” they sought in the investigation. Bertolino told The Post that it was the keys to the van.
Police had yet to do a forensic examination on the cellphone of Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, who last received a text from Petito on Aug. 30 and communicated with her throughout the trip out West.
Garrison also said police had not set up a grid search in the area where Petito was last seen in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.
Asked about the bodycam footage from Utah, Garrison had little to say.
“As far as that having to do anything with the disappearance, we don’t know,” he said. “I mean, yes, they had a disturbance. Yes, it was captured on body camera, their interaction with law enforcement. But beyond that, I don’t know what it has to do with the disappearance.”