Gabby Petito's family holds news conference as FBI manhunt continues for fiancé Brian Laundrie

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Wednesday, September 29, 2021
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Kristin Thorne has the latest on the Gabby Petito case after her family held an emptional press conference Tuesday.

BLUE POINT, Long Island (WABC) -- Gabby Petito's family held a sometimes emotional press conference Tuesday afternoon as the FBI manhunt continues for her fiancé Brian Laundrie.

Her parents and step-parents showed tattoos designed by Gabby with sayings like "Let It Be" and "Believe" that they had done in her memory.

They avoided answering some questions, particularly about Brian Laundrie. Their lawyer was adamant that Laundire's parents provided no help finding Gabby, so they were expecting no help from them finding Brian.

"The parents are 100% happy with the FBI. They've been with us at every single step of the way and we know that they will bring justice for Gabby," Petito family lawyer Richard Stafford said.

They also detailed the Gabby Petito Foundation, which days ago they said they are in the process of founding, to provide resources and guidance to other families searching for their children.

"We're hoping that through our tragedy, in the future, some good can come out of it," Joe Petito, Gabby's father, said.

The family said they had received hundreds of letters, emails and cards from all over the world.

"It means a lot to me that she's touched so many lives already," Petito's mother Nichole Schmidt said.

They stress that while they are grateful for all the attention Gabby has received, they want every other family to get the same treatment.

WATCH | Gabby Petito's family holds press conference:

Petito's body was discovered on September 19 in a remote area in northwestern Wyoming.

Laundrie and Petito both grew up on Long Island but in recent years moved to North Port, Florida.

Laundrie's parents said Monday that they do not know where their son is and hope the FBI can locate him, though authorities said they would be dialing down the large-scale search efforts as the manhunt enters its second week.

RELATED | Gabby Petito disappearance timeline: What we know

Authorities collected personal items from the Laundrie home in Florida in hopes they can use DNA samples to help solve the case, and teams combing a nearby nature reserve hope to gain ground on the search as water recedes in areas that were previously hard to reach.

An attorney for the Laundrie family said Brian's parents, Chris and Roberta, are concerned about their son.

"The speculation by the public and some in the press that the parents assisted Brian in leaving the family home or in avoiding arrest on a warrant that was issued after Brian had already been missing for several days is just wrong," the family's attorney Steven Bertolino said Monday.

RELATED | Gabby Petito memorial service held on Long Island

As the search for Laundrie continues, some are hoping that money might talk. Two separate rewards totaling $30,000 have been offered to anyone who provides law enforcement officials with Laundrie's whereabouts.

Meanwhile FBI said investigators are still seeking information from anyone who may have seen the couple around Grand Teton.

Petito's remains are still in Wyoming at the Teton County Coroner's office. Her cause of death has not yet been determined.

Petito's step father Jim Schmidt says "it's important for the FBI, Teton county sheriff, coroner office to hold onto her as long as they need ... we want to make sure we do not impede their investigation in anyway."

(CNN Wire contributed to this post.)


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