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'Another Twist in the Story' of Missing Gabby Petito

Fiance Brian Laundrie, a person of interest, is 'missing,' per his attorney
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2021 6:00 AM CDT
Attorney: Laundrie Is Missing. Petito Family: No, He's Hiding
This police camera video shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021.   (The Moab City Police Department via AP)

(Newser) – "I wish I could talk to him," Cassie Laundrie said this week of brother Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the case of missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito. That may be a little more difficult now, unless Cassie knows where Brian is—he's gone missing, according to his lawyer, and now the search is on for both him and fiancee Petito, reports WABC. "Be advised, the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie are currently unknown," attorney Steven Bertolino said in a statement to reporters. "As of now, the FBI is looking for both Gabby and Brian."

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Josh Taylor, a spokesperson for Florida's North Port Police Department, told CNN that Laundrie's parents, who share a home with him and Petito there, summoned cops to the residence on Friday evening and said they hadn't seen their son since Tuesday, reports the New York Times. Todd Garrison, North Port's police chief, conceded police don't know where Laundrie is. "He could be anywhere," he told CNN. Bertolino says police removed items from the parents' home that might help in the search for his client.

"It is another twist in the story, for sure," Taylor said. Petito's family, meanwhile, isn't buying it. "All of Gabby's family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing," the office of Richard Stafford, the family's attorney, says in a statement, per Fox News. North Port police say despite this development, Laundrie isn't considered a suspect. "While Brian is a person of interest in Gabby's disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime," they noted in a Friday statement. "We are not currently working a crime investigation. We are now working ... multiple missing-person investigations."

They're requesting anyone with any relevant info on either Petito or Laundrie—who arrived home in Florida on Sept. 1 without Petito after a cross-country road trip they'd taken together—to call 1-800-CALL-FBI. Still, Taylor told CNN that police do have more details that they can't yet reveal to the public. "I think that will come out here, very shortly," he said. "We just want to get our ... ducks in a row a little bit. This has been a very quickly developing situation ... so we're working through that. We want to make sure that we are accurate in everything that we're saying." (Read more Gabby Petito stories.)

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