New details have further illuminated what’s known about the disappearance of Gabby Petito, a YouTuber from Florida who did not return from a cross-country van trip in August with her fiancé Brian Laundrie, who police have labeled a person of interest in the case.
A day before her family reported her missing, Ms Petito’s father Joseph was involved in a “public service” incident at Laundrie’s home, where he and Gabby lived with Laundrie’s parents, according to heavily redacted police documents reported by Fox News.
The records, which are largely obscured due to the ongoing investigation, do not indicate the reason for the call on 10 September, but note that police came back twice the following day and seized the couple’s Ford Transit van, which they had used to cross the country.
UPDATE: Rick Stafford, the Petito family’s attorney, said that the records shouldn’t be read to indicate some kind of exchange between Laundrie and Joseph Petito that day. “From what I understand, on September 10 is when Joe Petito called the North Port, [Florida] police department to report his daughter missing,” Mr Stafford told The Independent. “That whole day he was in Vero Beach, which was on the other side of the state. “ “He’s never even been to Brian Laundrie’s house, and he’s never been on the block,” Mr Stafford added. “If there is a report, when that report comes out, it’s going to be the missing persons report that was taken over the phone from Joe to the North Port police department.”
Previously, Mr Petito had told Fox News, which reported the public service incident, that he wasn’t aware Mr Laundrie had returned to Florida until 11 September.
“Brian got home on 1 September, and we didn’t even realize he came home alone or was even home until Sept. 11 when we reported her missing,” Mr Petito told the network on Friday. “It wasn’t’ unlike them to go for a few stretches without checking in but I still can’t believe he’s home and won’t tell us where our daughter is!”
The Independent has reached out to the Petito family’s attorney.
Ms Petito last spoke with her family at the end of August, two weeks after police in Utah stopped the couple over concerns about a potential domestic violence incident. They were separated overnight but no charges were filed, according to police records.
Gabby’s family has expressed doubt that her final text message – “No service in Yosemite” – was sent from their daughter, given that the couple was likely still hundreds of miles away from Northern California when it was sent.
Mr Laundrie returned home from the trip without Ms Petito, and has since hired a lawyer and declined to assist investigators with their search for the missing young woman. Police have not identified evidence of a crime.
Law enforcement agencies across multiple jurisdictions in Florida, Utah, and beyond are involved in the investigation, and the FBI is assisting with forensics.
Investigators have seized the pair’s converted van used on the trip, and are scouring digital records for more information.