Police search Florida home of Gabby Petito’s boyfriend

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Police Search Florida Home Of Gabby Petito’s Boyfriend
Brian Laundrie, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Curt Anderson, Associated Press

Police have swarmed the home of a man wanted for questioning over the disappearance of his girlfriend Gabby Petito, whose body was apparently discovered over the weekend at a Wyoming national park.

The officers served a search warrant, and local media reported that 23-year-old Brian Laundrie’s parents were seen getting into a police van.

Video showed at least a dozen law enforcement officers, including one wearing an FBI jacket, pulling up to the house in North Port, Florida, and rushing inside.


Gabby Petito (Moab Police Department/AP)

Ms Petito, 22, disappeared after she and Laundrie left in July on a cross-country trek in a converted van to visit national parks in the West.

They got into a fight along the way, and Laundrie was alone when he returned in the van to his parents’ home in North Port on September 1, police said.

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In Wyoming, the FBI on Sunday announced the discovery of a body by agents searching campsites on the edge of Grand Teton National Park, which the couple had visited. A post-mortem examination is set for Tuesday.

“Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified,” FBI agent Charles Jones said. “This is an incredibly difficult time for (Petito’s) family and friends.”

Ms Petito’s father Joseph posted on social media an image of a broken heart above a picture of his daughter, with the message: “She touched the world.”


A lawyer acting as a spokesman for the family asked in a statement that they be given room to grieve.

Mr Jones said investigators were still seeking information from anyone who may have seen Ms Petito or Laundrie around Grand Teton.

A weekend search of a Florida nature preserve failed to find Laundrie, North Port police said. They said in a statement that they “exhausted all avenues in searching the grounds” of the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County.

Investigators focused on the area after Laundrie’s parents told police he may have gone there.

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Ms Petito’s family on New York’s Long Island have been pleading for the Laundrie family to tell them where their son last saw her.

She and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met while growing up on Long Island. His parents later moved to North Port, about 35 miles south of Sarasota.


Gabby Petito talks to police in Utah (Moab Police Department/AP)

Video released by police in Moab, Utah, showed that an officer pulled the couple’s van over on August 12 after it was seen speeding and hitting a kerb near the entrance to Arches National Park. The body-camera video showed an upset Ms Petito.

Laundrie said on the video that the couple had got into a scuffle after he climbed into the van with dirty feet. He said he did not want to pursue a domestic violence charge against Ms Petito, who officers decided was the aggressor.

Moab police separated the couple for the night, with Laundrie checking into a motel and Ms Petito remaining with the van.

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