While the search for missing Long Island woman Gabby Petito continues, her family criticized her boyfriend for obstructing authorities and refusing to reveal where he last saw her.
Petito's family released a statement only hours after her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, broke his silence, stating through his lawyer that he would "stay in the background." Nicole Schmidt, Petito's mother, and Joe Petito, her father, have both appealed for her return.
The family also pleaded for Laundrie to come forward and at the very least tell them whether they are looking in the correct place. Laundrie and Petito, who lived together in Florida, started their coast-to-coast journey in July and planned to finish it around Halloween at a friend's house in Portland.
Missing woman's boyfriend unwilling to cooperate with the investigation
Laundrie, on the other hand, returned to Florida without Petito in the 2012 Ford Transit van they were driving in on Friday. Since then, he has hired a lawyer and has refused to assist with authorities, who have also been turned down by Laundrie's parents. The FBI and Suffolk County police are aiding North Port police with the investigation, which has made international news.
Gabby Petito went missing on Saturday after her family had not heard from her in 13 days. She'd been on the road with Laundrie since July, and her last contact with family was on August 25, as per The NY Post.
Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming was her final known location. Laundrie's van was confiscated by North Port police late Saturday night for forensic testing. His parents Christopher, 62, and Roberta, 55, refused to speak to investigators when they knocked at their door at the same time, according to Daily Mail.
Tuesday afternoon, police officers went door to door in the Laundries' calm street to speak with the family's neighbors. They didn't go to the Laundries' house and refused to talk about the investigation.
Multiple state officials and FBI remain in search of Gabby Petito
Cops were previously spotted handing off a pink envelope holding a receipt for the couple's vehicle outside the family's home. Officers at the Laundries' parents' single-story home in a quiet residential neighborhood in North Port, Florida, did not want to make him available, according to Josh Taylor, the town's information officer.
The investigation into Gabby's disappearance includes at least 12 investigators in North Port, Florida's west coast, and 25 miles south of Sarasota. The FBI and Suffolk County Police on Long Island, New York, are also involved in the investigation, as is Gabby's devastated mother Nicole Schmidt, who reported her daughter missing.
Meanwhile, forensic experts continue to search the Transit van for clues to the mystery's solution. Utah police officers were summoned to an altercation between Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito about two weeks before she was last seen and a month before she was formally reported missing, according to Fox News.
The pair was driving across the country in their Ford Transit van, posting photographs and videos on social media. On August 12, Petito shared photos taken at Arches National Park, just north of Moab.
Police in Laundrie's hometown of North Port has not charged him with a crime or accused him of playing a part in Petito's disappearance. While a search is underway in Wyoming, Laundrie has hired an attorney and returned to Florida in Petito's van. According to the relatives of the missing woman, he refused to tell them where he last saw her.