The stepfather of missing Long Island native Gabby Petito urged her boyfriend to “step up and do the right thing” and start cooperating with law enforcement officials who are investigating her disappearance.
James Schmidt made the desperate plea after landing in Wyoming to help aid authorities in their search efforts for Petito, who was last known to be in the state’s Grand Teton National Park in late August.
“He was with her, so he has to know something,” Schmidt told The Daily Mail, referring to stepdaughter’s boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who returned home to Florida from the couple’s cross country travels without Petito on Sept. 1.
Laundrie has refused to cooperate with authorities. Earlier Wednesday, Florida cops declared him a person of interest in her disappearance.
On Tuesday, his family said in a statement they would be “remaining in the background” as the investigation plays out and would not comment further.
“Our family’s aware of the statements made by his attorney,’ Schmidt told the outlet Wednesday. “It’s unacceptable. We deserve more. Gabby deserves more information out there. She deserves to be found and brought home safe. And we need you to step up and do the right thing.”
Schmidt also called on Laundrie’s family to act morally and start talking.
“I understand a parent’s wishes are to always protect their children, no matter what,” he told The Mail. “But it’s also about teaching your children the right thing and doing the right thing, no matter what the circumstances are.”
“Whatever may have transpired or didn’t transpire, they need to come forward and start speaking to law enforcement agencies and be forthcoming with information,” he added.
Petito, who is from Blue Point, New York, was reported missing on Sept. 11 by her mom, who said her daughter stopped contacting her family on her cross-country tour of national parks.