Gabby Petito’s father has said the main priority must be ‘to make sure we get my daughter home first’ and then ‘we’ll start worrying about’ her boyfriend Brian Laundrie who was named a ‘person of interest’ in her disappearance.
Joe Petito told Fox & Friends First Thursday he doesn’t ‘give two craps’ about Laundrie and slammed him for ‘sitting home in his lazy boy chair’ instead of helping in the search for his missing girlfriend.
‘I don’t care what happens to him right now,’ he said.
Petito was last seen on August 24 leaving a hotel with Laundrie in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the couple’s cross-country campervan trip which they started early July.
Gabby Petito’s father has said the focus must be ‘to make sure we get my daughter home first’ and then ‘we’ll start worrying about’ her boyfriend Brian Laundrie later – after he was named a ‘person of interest’ in her disappearance and is still refusing to cooperate with police
Gabby set out on a cross-country trip July 2 with boyfriend Brian Laundrie in the couple’s 2012 Ford Transit van. Brian posted this photo of the couple on Instagram on July 16
The following day she made her final call to her mom, telling her she and Laundrie had traveled to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. She was reported missing by her family on September 11 after they hadn’t heard from her in 13 days.
Police said Laundrie returned to their home in North Port, Florida, on September 1 – with the van and without Petito.
He has lawyered up and is refusing to cooperate with the investigation and has repeatedly ignored Petito’s family’s pleas to share any information on her whereabouts.
He was officially named a person of interest in the case on Wednesday.
Laundrie’s attorney Steven P. Bertolino addressed his client’s decision to stay silent in a statement saying his client isn’t speaking to police or the public ‘on the advice of counsel’ because ‘intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focus their attention on in cases like this.’
Bodycam footage emerged on Wednesday showing police being called to an incident involving the couple in Moab, Utah, on August 12 – 13 days before Petito was last heard from.
Joe said these new developments in the case had left him feeling everything was ‘not what you thought it was.’
Attorney Richard Stafford on Thursday read out an emotional letter from Petito’s family begging the Laundries to cooperate, saying ‘we believe you know the location of where Brian left Gabby’
A map shows the last known movements of Petito and Laundrie along their cross-country road trip which began July 2
However, he said he just wants to keep the focus on finding his daughter.
‘It’s not what you thought it was,’ he said.
‘August 12, the person of interest… I get it from a legal side of it but from a family side we don’t have Gabby.
‘I want to care about finding my daughter first. That’s my first objective.’
He then hit out at his daughter’s boyfriend for his refusal to cooperate with police.
‘That can’t be my primary focus if he’s going to sit in the comfort of his home, you know, and get home cooked meals, why my daughter’s out, you know, God knows where, you know, I don’t give two craps about him,’ he said.
‘I got to be out there to help her, because the one person who is supposed to be leading the charge is sitting home in his lazy boy chair, you know, not talking to anybody.’
He added: ‘I want to worry about getting my daughter home first and then we’ll start worrying about Brian.’
Joe also hit out at Laundrie’s family who have so far shielded him from law enforcement.
Joe Petito told Fox & Friends First Thursday he doesn’t ‘give two craps’ about Laundrie and slammed him for ‘sitting home in his lazy boy chair’ instead of helping in the search
Laundrie was named a person of interest and is refusing to cooperate with cop. The couple with their campervan
Police said they attempted to speak with Laundrie at his family property at the weekend but his parents refused to allow officers from doing so.
‘It must be very difficult for the Laundrie family to have their son home while we’re looking for ours so I’m not too concerned with how they’re feeling,’ said Joe.
The Petito and Schmidt family’s attorney also held a press conference on Thursday to issue yet another desperate plea for the Laundries to help them find their daughter.
Attorney Richard Stafford read out an emotional letter from Petito’s parents begging the Laundries to cooperate, saying ‘we believe you know the location of where Brian left Gabby.’
‘We understand you are going through a difficult time and your instinct to protect your son is strong. We ask you to put yourselves in our shoes. We haven’t been able to sleep or eat and our lives are falling apart,’ they added.
‘As a parent, how can you let us go through this pain and not help us? As a parent, how could you put Gabby’s younger brothers and sisters through this?’
The letter also confirmed reports that the young couple were engaged to be married and that the Laundries were ‘so happy’ the two were planning to spend their lives together.
During the press conference, Stafford would not provide further details about Petito’s suspicious final text message to her family and refused to comment on the body camera footage from the August 12 incident.
He revealed the couple’s cross country road trip included plans to visit Oregon on October 2, meaning Laundrie’s return to Florida on September 1 would’ve been seemed odd or unexpected to his parents.
New bodycam footage emerged Wednesday showing police being called to an incident involving the couple in Moab, Utah, on August 12 – 13 days before Petito was last heard from. A tearful Petito is seen in the back of the police car
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone’
Stafford also said the Laundries had already retained legal representation by the time police came knocking on their door a week later.
During his interview Thursday, Petito’s father said it was ‘heart-wrenching’ that he is unable to hug his daughter, saying she ‘needs help and she is nowhere to be found.’
‘That’s my only daughter. Right now I can’t give her a hug and she needs it, she needs help and she is nowhere to be found.’
He added: ‘I don’t know where do you even begin. We’re just doing what we can and it’s just difficult.
‘She needs help and we got to get it to her.’
Joe said he didn’t want to speculate on what has happened to his daughter because ‘when I put scenarios in my head it doesn’t end well.’
‘I can’t focus on that,’ he said, adding that he was hopeful she was ‘just stuck somewhere’.
‘If I think of any other type of scenario in my head, I’m going to be on the floor so I can’t do that,’ he said.
‘I got to focus that she is hurt and needs our help and we’ve got to find her as fast as we can.’
In the newly-released bodycam video, an emotional Petito is seen with tears streaming down her face telling officers the couple ‘have been fighting all morning’ and admitting that she slapped him.
Petito says she suffers from OCD and anxiety, with both her and Laundrie saying she was stressed because of the YouTube blog they were working on to document the doomed cross-country trip.
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face and arm which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone’.
When an officer asks Petito if her boyfriend hit her, she replies ‘I guess’ and makes a grabbing motion on her chin. Laundrie admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation.
The cops determine Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’ and say they are separating the couple for the night.
The incident report says officers were called near the Moonflower Community Co-op in Moab on August 12 around 4:30pm for a ‘possible domestic violence’ incident involving the couple.
The report, released by the Moab Police Department on Wednesday, documented that the couple admitted they had been going through ‘issues’ over the last couple days.
Petito was last seen on August 24 leaving a hotel with Laundrie in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the couple’s cross-country campervan trip