Protesters chant ‘where’s Gabby?’ outside Brian Laundrie’s home
Separate searches are underway in Wyoming and Florida for missing YouTuber Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie.
A couple claims they saw Ms Petito’s van near Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
The couple said they saw the van on 25 August, narrowing the potential search area for investigators if they deem the tip credible. They did not see Ms Petito or her fiancé. However, Ms Petito did tag numerous potential campsites on an app called The Dyrt, which may provide insight into the general area she planned to explore on her trip.
In Florida, protesters gathered outside Mr Laundrie’s house late this week, hoping to pressure him into cooperating with law enforcement. Ms Petito’s family called on Mr Laundrie’s family to help them find their daughter.
However, it came to light that Mr Laundrie had left the house on Tuesday and was last seen in a vast swampy nature reserve near the city of North Port. Local police and the FBI are currently searching for him in the park.
On Wednesday, the North Port Police Department in Florida announced they were treating Ms Petito’s fiancé as a person of interest in their investigation. He has thus far refused to cooperate with law enforcement.
The family of Ms Petito have also revealed they do not believe her final text message on 30 August actually came from her.
Ms Petito and her fiancé were reportedly arguing and hitting each other, according to a police report from Utah. The couple, who were on a road trip in Ms Petito’s van, were spotted having an argument in Moab City, Utah on 12 August.
Bodycamera footage of a police encounter with the couple shows Ms Petito crying over the argument she and Mr Laundrie had been having during their trip.
Ms Petito disappeared while on a road trip with her fiancé, Mr Laundrie, who returned without her, prompting a frantic search for the 22-year-old woman that began on 11 September.
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Fiance breaks silence, says he “hopes the search for Miss Petito is successful"
Brian Laundrie, the fiance of Garielle Petito, broke his silence, speaking through his lawyer to say he hoped the search for Ms Petito was “successful” and that she would be reunited with her family soon.
The Independent’s Bevan Hurley delves deeper into the statement in the story below...
‘On behalf of the Laundrie family it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family’
Gabrielle Petito’s father issues urgent plea to find his daughter
Joe Pepito, Gabrielle Petito’s father, said “we’ve got to bring her home,” pleading for the safe return of his daughter.
“It’s a feeling you can’t describe. That’s the thing. You can empathise, I am sure you can sympathise, I am sure you can understand how it feels, but you can’t describe how it feels unless you’re in it, unless you’re the parent,” Mr Pepito said.
The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe shares more perspective from the desperate father below...
Stepfather of young woman heads to Wyoming to join search
Welcome to the live blog
Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the search for YouTuber Gabrielle Petito.
Ms Petito left her home in North Port, Florida, to embark on a cross country road trip with her fiance, Brian Laundrie.
When Mr Laundrie returned home early - and without Ms Petito - the 22-year-old woman’s family became worried and alerted the police. Ms Petito’s fiance, Mr Laundrie, has refused to cooperate with police inquiries into her location.
The North Port Police Department announced on Wednesday it would provide updates on the search today at 11:30 am.
Police called to incident involving Petito in Utah
Police in Moab, Utah reported that they responded to an incident involving Gabrielle Petito and her fiance, Brian Laundrie, on 12 August.
The police did not go into detail regarding the circumstances of the call.
“Our officers did respond to an incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito on 12 August 2021 however, neither Brian or Gabrielle were the reporting party. Officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges,” Moab Police said in a statement.
Timeline of Gabrielle Petito’s disappearance
2 July, 2021: Gabrielle Petito and her fiance, Brian Laundrie, leave New York on a cross-country trip in a camper van.
5 July, 2021: The couple stops at Monument Rocks in Kansas.
24 August, 2021: Ms Petito is last seen with checking out of a Salt Lake City hotel with Mr Laundrie
25 August, 2021: Ms Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, video chats with her daughter for the last time via phone. Ms Petito reveals she is in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
30 August, 2021: Ms Schmidt receives a text purportedly from Ms Petito. Ms Smith says she is unsure if the text was actually from her daughter.
11 September, 2021: Ms Petito’s parents report her missing.
Gabrielle Petito’s Instagram account is mysteriously deactivated and then reactivated
Gabrielle Petito’s Instagram account mysteriously went dark before it was reactivated on Wednesday. The family’s attorney told WABC-TV they had “no idea who deleted Gabby’s Instagram account.” “We contacted Instagram and the FBI to let them know that it was deleted,” they said.
North Port police name Gabrielle Petito’s fiance, Brian Laundrie, as person of interest
Brian Laundrie, Gabrielle Petito’s fiance and the last known person to see her in person, is now being considered a person of interest in the case.
The North Port Police Department held a press conference on Wednesday to announce that they were considering the fiance a person of interest in their search for Ms Petito.
“We know Brian returned here to North Port on 1 September - ten days before her family reported her missing on 11 September,” the department said in a statement before declaring Mr Laundrie a person of interest.
Police said Mr Laundrie has not made himself available to investigators.
Police release photos of Gabrielle Petito’s van
The North Port police released photos of the van Gabrielle Petito drove during their cross-country road trip.
Stickers on the back of the van used by Gabrielle Petito and her fiance Brian Laundrie. Mr Laundrie returned from the trip without Ms Petito, prompting a police search.
(North Point Police Department)
North Port Police released photographs of the van they seized from Mr Laundrie’s home
(North Port Police)
Police reveal their latest findings
The North Port Police Department released a press statement with the latest updates regarding the ongoing search for Gabrielle Petito.
The Independent’s Bevan Hurley examines the department’s latest information below...
Brian Laundrie returned home from van-life trip 10 days before his girlfriend Gabby Petito was reported missing
Gabrielle Petito’s father slams fiance’s statement
Joe Petito, Gabrielle Petito’s father, appeared on Fox News to discuss his daughter’s disappearance and react to the statement put out by her fiance, Brian Laundrie.
“That wasn’t a statement. I’m sorry. That’s not a statement,” Mr Petito told Fox News host Bill Hemmer.
“Forget Brian, Brian’s home safe. His parents, yeah it’s hard for them. Bulls***. You know what? My daughter is not here. Our daughter is not here. We don’t even know what state she’s in.”
He said he was largely unconcerned with the statement.
“You know, we’re shooting from the hip here and trying to do what we can. So I don’t care about the statement. I care about finding Gabby,” he said.