Home News Gabby Petito case: Florida police say no evidence of criminality in disappearance

Gabby Petito case: Florida police say no evidence of criminality in disappearance

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NORTH PORT, Fla. — Florida cops investigating the mysterious disappearance of Long Island native Gabby Petito said Thursday they have no evidence that a crime was committed.

“Right now, we are investigating a missing person case,” North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said at a press conference.

Asked if there was any criminality, Garrison answered, “Not at this time.”

“At this time, it’s a missing person case,” he said.

Petito, 22, was reported missing on Saturday, 10 days after her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, returned to their Florida home in her white 2012 Ford Transit van — without her.

Laundrie, who has since lawyered up and has refused to speak with investigators, was identified this week as a person of interest in her disappearance.

“Two people went on a trip, one person returned,” Garrison said at Thursday’s press briefing. “And that person that returned isn’t providing us any information.”

But asked if they could bring Laundrie in for questioning, Garrison said, “right now, no.”

North Port Chief of Police, Todd Garrison
Cops investigating Gabby Petito’s disappearance said Thursday they have no evidence that a crime was committed.
Daniel William McKnight

“Right now, this is a missing person case, alright? And our focus is to find Gabby. My focus isn’t to bring Brian in right now. It’s to find Gabby,” he said. “Brian is exercising his constitutional right and I have to respect that.”

He said Laundrie’s lawyer did provide some property they requested.

The chief said cops were analyzing items from the van, which police seized on Saturday, but have not determined if they have any “evidentiary value.”

He also could not say if there had been a forensic examination of Petito’s mom Nichole Schmidt’s phone — though she last got a text from her daughter’s phone on Aug. 30.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie are seen in an Instagram post.
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie are seen in an Instagram post.Instagram

Police also haven’t called for a grid-search of the area where Petito was believed to have been last, he added.

The couple left New York for a cross-country trip on July 2, and were due to wrap up the trek with a visit with friends in Portland, Oregon, around Halloween, her family said.

The tension between the two flared up on Aug. 12, when police pulled the van over outside Arches National Park in Utah after the pair got into a scuffle in the city of Moab.

Bodycam footage of the incident shows a sobbing Petito admit she scratched Laundrie, who locked her out of the van.

“I have really bad OCD,” she told the cop.

On Thursday, Garrison said police were not aware of her alleged disorder.

“As far as that having to do anything with the disappearance, we don’t know,” he said. “I mean, yes they had a disturbance. Yes, it was captured on body camera, their interaction with law enforcement.

Gabby Petito
Bodycam footage shows a sobbing Gabby Petito explaining her scuffle with Brian Laundrie to police.

“But beyond that, I don’t know what it has to do with the disappearance,” the chief added.

Police, who were responding to a report of a possible domestic assault, declined to press charges and separated the couple for the night, with Laundrie checking into a local hotel and Petito remaining with the van.

Laundrie posted his final Instagram photo from Arches the following day, with the bizarre caption, “humans are primates, great apes in fact.”

Petito’s last post was on Aug. 25 in front of the Monarch Mural in Ogden, Utah.

She last spoke with her mother, Nichole Schmidt, that same day — and her mom believes a text message sent from her daughter’s phone on Aug. 30 was not from her.

Police said Laundrie arrived home in North Port on Sept. 1.



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