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Police Met Missing Woman, Fiance Before Disappearance

Gabrielle Petito's family says companion Brian Laundrie won't say when he last saw her
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2021 7:27 AM CDT
Police Met Missing Woman, Fiance Before Disappearance
A missing person flyer for Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, last seen in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. She was reported missing on Sept. 11.   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – Utah police say they responded to an incident involving a now-missing woman and her fiance two weeks before she was last seen. Moab Police Chief Bret Edge told Fox News on Tuesday that officers responded to an incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito on Aug. 12. "However, neither Brian or Gabrielle were the reporting party" and, after conducting an investigation, officers "determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges."

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The traveling couple left Florida in Petito's 2012 white Ford Transit van in July before Petito shared photos from Arches National Park, just north of Moab, on Aug. 12. Her family says they last heard from the 22-year-old at the end of August, when she was in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. The couple's next destination was to be Yellowstone, though it's unclear if Petito made it. Laundrie has returned to North Port, Fla., with the van but is refusing to say when he last saw his fiancee, according to a family statement.

"Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers," Richard Stafford, an attorney for Petito’s family, said in a statement, per NBC News. Laundrie's family responded that they were "remaining in the background" on the advice of counsel amid a search for Petito near Grand Teton. "It is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family," they added.

Stafford countered, "How does Brian stay in the background when he is the one person that knows where Gabby is located?" "I think anyone would assume that the possible last person to be around her is a person of interest to want to talk with," a North Port police spokesman told Fox News. "However, there is no crime at this point." Police hadn't contacted Laundrie as of late Tuesday afternoon, per NBC News. WTVT reports investigators have searched the van, finding "no obvious signs of foul play." (Read more missing person stories.)

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