Are cops gagging Gabby Petito's family? Parents asked NOT to discuss her relationship
Authorities have reportedly asked Gabby Petito's family not to publicly comment or discuss her relationship with fiance Brian Laundrie.
Investigators are searching for Petito, who went missing while on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie in late August. When Laundrie returned home to Florida on September 1, Petito wasn't with him. Petito's family eventually reported her missing on September 11, and Laundrie has since lawyered up and refused to assist authorities in their search efforts. He has been named a person of interest in the case.
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Petito's family had spoken rather openly about the couple's relationship until recently, with embattled father Joe Petito insisting on Wednesday, September 15, that he hadn't noticed any "red flags" over his daughter's boyfriend. But authorities have since prohibited the family from discussing any further details. "Gabby's family was instructed by law enforcement to not discuss the details of Gabby and Brian's relationship," an attorney for the family told CBS News in a statement. According to Insider, it isn't clear when the request was made.
Petito and Laundrie's respective social media profiles portrayed their love for each other, including photos of the pair kissing. Speaking to Insider, one of their friends Nicole Kalanich said "they were couple goals for me."
However, the relationship became concerning after police responded to a fight between the pair in their converted van on August 12. The encounter resulted in the couple being separated for the night. Police released bodycam footage from the stop on Thursday, September 16, showing Petito visibly distraught. Responding officers eventually concluded it was a mental health incident rather than a case of domestic assault.
Meanwhile, Petito's godmother Flora Rocco told NewsNation that the request to refrain from discussing Laundrie was still a mystery to the family. "We don't know why," Rocco told the outlet. Petito's family revealed that she and Laundrie had called off their wedding plans a few weeks before leaving for the road trip due to the pandemic. However, they still intended to get married someday.
MEAWW previously reported how Laundrie’s sister Cassie broke her silence days after he came back, driving the couple's van sans Petito. “Obviously, me and my family want Gabby to be found safe,” Cassie told ABC’s 'Good Morning America' in a clip. “She’s like a sister and my children love her, and all I want is for her to come home safe and found and this to be just a big misunderstanding.”
However, Gabby’s father Joe Petito slammed Cassie in an interview with NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield, commenting that the remarks “made a lot of sense.” “If that’s that family’s version of love, to just ignore and not care that someone’s gone and people are looking for them and entire country's looking for them, I mean, that explains how we got to where we are today. Because I mean, look at their version of what they call love," Joe said.
Cassie's interview came after Petito's family penned an emotional letter begging the Laundries to help them find their missing daughter. The letter also suggested that the family might have information about where their daughter is and withholding the same.
Letter from Gabby Petito’s family to parents of her fiancé Brian Laundrie. pic.twitter.com/yPqy2MCixc— Kristin Thorne (@KristinThorne) September 16, 2021
The letter was read by Petito's family lawyer Richard Stafford in a press conference held in Long Island. "We understand you are going through a difficult time and your instinct to protect your son is strong. We ask you to put yourselves in our shoes. We haven't been able to sleep or eat and our lives are falling apart. As a parent, how can you let us go through this pain and not help us? As a parent, how could you put Gabby's younger brothers and sisters through this?"