Florida police say they don't suspect a crime in Gabby Petito's disappearance yet and can't bring her boyfriend in for questioning

·2 min read
Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito in an undated photo Courtesy of Schmidt and Petito family
  • Florida police don't yet suspect a crime in the Gabby Petito missing person case.

  • North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said Thursday authorities aren't focused on bringing in Petito's boyfriend for questioning now.

  • "Right now, this is a missing person case and our focus is to find Gabby," Garrison said.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Police don't yet suspect a crime in the mysterious disappearance of Gabby Petito, and authorities aren't focused on bringing in her boyfriend for questioning, the chief of the Florida police department investigating the case said Thursday.

North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison told reporters during a press conference that, "Right now, it's a missing person case" and that there is no suspected criminality "at this time."

Garrison said that authorities cannot yet force Petito's boyfriend, Brian Laundrie - who has refused to speak publicly or to investigators - to speak to police about the case.

"Right now, this is a missing person case and our focus is to find Gabby," Garrison said. "My focus isn't to bring Brian in right now. Brian is exercising his constitutional rights and I have to respect that."

Laundrie has refused to speak to authorities about Petito, despite police and the family of the 22-year-old woman pleading that he help find her. Police have named him as a "person of interest" in the case.

Petito and Laundrie, 23, set out from New York on a cross-country road trip in a converted camper van on July 2, documenting their travels on social media along the way.

Gabby Petito and fiance Brian Laundrie
Gabby Petito and fiance Brian Laundrie Courtesy of Schmidt and Petito family

But on September 1, Laundrie returned home to North Port, Florida with the van and without Petito, police have said.

Petito's family reported her missing to New York authorities 10 days later and Petito's last known location is believed to be in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.

"We share the frustration with the world right now," Garrison said. "Two people went on a trip and one person returned and that person that returned isn't providing information."

Petito's father, Joe Petito, attended Thursday's police press conference and urged the public to help him find his daughter.

"The goal is to bring Gabby home safely and I'm asking for help from everyone here," Joe Petito said. "I am asking for help from the parents of Brian and I am asking for help of the family members and friends of the Laundrie family, as well."

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