Boyfriend of missing Long Island native issues statement through lawyer

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Boyfriend of missing LI native issues statement through lawyer
Brian Laundrie's attorney, Steve Bertolino, issued a statement on the disappearance of Gabrielle Petito, 22.

BLUE POINT, Long Island (WABC) -- The boyfriend of a 22-year-old woman originally from Long Island who disappeared while traveling in Wyoming has issued a statement through his lawyer.

Brian Laundrie's attorney, Steve Bertolino, issued the statement on the disappearance of Gabrielle Petito, whose family last heard from her on August 30.

"This is an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. I understand that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family. On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment."

After breaking his silence with the statement, Petito's family released the following statement in return:

"The Schmidt and Petito family are going through the worst moments of their lives. Their beautiful twenty-two year old daughter is missing and the one person that can help find Gabby refuses to help. Brian Laundrie was traveling with Gabby in the Grand Teton - Yellowstone area. They were traveling together in Gabby's 2012 Ford Transit van. That is where we believe Gabby was last seen. Brian is refusing to tell Gabby's family where he last saw her. Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers. The Schmidt and Petito family beg the Laundrie family to not "remain in the background" but to help find who Brian referred to as the love of his life. How does Brian stay in the background when he is the one person that knows where Gabby is located? The Schmidt and Petito family implore Brian to come forward and at least tell us if we are looking in the right area."

Petito, whose family is from Blue Point, was traveling in a white 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida license plate QFTG03 with Laundrie when she stopped communicating with friends and family.

"We don't eat, we don't sleep, we're just actively looking for her," her mother, Nicole Schmidt, said.

In a new development on Tuesday night, the Moab, Utah police chief revealed in a statement that officers from his department responded to an "incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito" on August 12.

"Our officers did respond to an incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito on 12 August 2021 however, neither Brian or Gabrielle were the reporting party. Officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges," Chief Bret Edge said.

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Schmidt said Petito and her boyfriend left on July 2 for a cross-country trip and that the two had been living in North Port, Florida, for the last two and a half years.

The couple had been documenting their trip on YouTube, and they were set to arrive in Portland, Oregon, in October.

"We were excited for them," Schmidt said.

She said the last video chat she had with her daughter was August 24 or 25, though they exchanged text messages for a few days following.

Prior to the last communication, Petito is believed to have been in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Petito was reported missing to the Suffolk County Police Department by her family on September 11 at approximately 6:55 p.m.

The van was later recovered in Florida.

"I believe she's in danger because she's not in touch with us," Schmidt said. "She could be alone somewhere. She could be stranded somewhere in the wilderness and she needs help."

Schmidt said she believes her daughter will come home.

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Petito is described as a white female, approximately 5-foot-5 and 110 pounds.

She has blonde hair, blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads "Let it be."

Detectives are asking anyone with information on Petito's disappearance to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS, and the North Port Police Department is actively assisting in this case.

"We currently have no definitive information that a crime took place here in North Port," the department said in a statement. "With that said, the circumstances are odd. The vehicle she was traveling in was located here in North Port. So we are actively gathering local details and any evidence to assist in finding needed answers. If you know anything about this case please contact us at 941-429-7382."

In addition, the FBI Tampa Field Office is assisting with this investigation. Tips can also be called into 1-800-CALL-FBI or submitted to


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