NORTH PORT, Fla. – According to the Laundrie family attorney, the FBI is currently searching for both Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito. Police confirmed Friday night that Brian appears to have been missing since Tuesday.
The FBI and North Port Police were at the Laundrie family home Friday night, removing property that may help to locate him. North Port police maintain they thought Brian was at the home at the time they went in, however, his family said he left days before.
Laundrie was named as a “person of interest” in the missing person case involving his fiancée, 22-year-old Gabby Petito. The police department tweeted that they were speaking with the Laundrie family — but not Brian — “at their request” on Friday night.
Police later clarified that Brian was not at the home as the conversation stretched on for hours. Police also said Brian Laundrie was not in police custody and no search warrants were being executed.
Laundrie and Petito had been on a cross-country trip together in a white camper van. But Laundrie returned home alone to North Port with the van — 10 days before Petito was reported missing by her family, according to the North Port Police Department.
Laundrie has declined to speak with investigators, who had up until this point been communicating through the family’s attorney. The couple’s converted camper van was recovered by North Port police at the home shared by Petito, Laundrie and Laundrie’s parents, authorities said.
A small group of protesters had gathered outside the home Friday evening, shouting “Where’s Gabby” and holding signs demanding Laundrie speak with investigators.
While some officers eventually moved the crowd off the Laundrie property, another group of officers went inside the home. FOX 13’s Evan Axelbank reported they carried paperwork inside and later briefly looked inside one of the cars parked in the driveway.
Weeks before Petito was reported missing, a witness in Moab, Utah called police after seeing Petito and Laundrie in an altercation on Aug. 12. The witness called 911 to report a “possible domestic violence” incident between the couple on a street near the Moonflower Co-op.
“The driver of the van, a male, had some sort of argument with the female, Gabbie [sic],” a responding officer wrote in the report after interviewing Petito, Laundrie and the witness.
“The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie [sic] to go take a walk to calm down, she didn’t want to be separated from the male, and began slapping him,” the report said. “He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van, he tried to lock her out and succeeded except for his driver’s door, she opened that and forced her way over him and into the vehicle before it drove off.”
Media on the lawn of the Laundrie home.
The police report and body camera video later released shows responding officers pulled the van over and had an encounter with the couple for over an hour. An emotional Petito sat in the back of a patrol vehicle on the side of the road and Laundrie remained outside their camper van as law enforcement officials sorted out what transpired.
While the report and video show possible mental health concerns and tension between the two, officers ultimately determined the events did not add up to chargeable crimes. They also took steps to separate the pair for an evening in an effort to prevent escalation.
An officer enters the Laundrie home in North Port.