Why did Brian Laundrie leave Gabby Petito mid-trip? Questions raised over Aug 17-23 Florida trip
Each passing days brings new questions into the mysterious disappearance of Gabby Petito, a Long Island woman who was reported missing on September 11. Gabby was on a cross-country road trip in a converted van with her 23-year-old boyfriend Brian Laundrie. She last spoke to her mother, Nicole Schmidt, on August 25 and her last known location was in Wyoming.
But ten days before she was reported missing at Suffolk County, New York, her boyfriend shockingly returned alone to his home in Florida. He returned with the van, but Gabby was nowhere to be found. However, recently it has emerged that before coming back from the trip on September 1, Brian had flown to Florida in August too to help his father move his and Gabby’s things out of a storage unit.
He had apparently left his ex-fiancée in the Fairfield Inn in Salt Lake City and came back home for a few days.
Reports said Brian was in Florida from August 17 to 23 and helped his dad empty the place, where he and his girlfriend kept their stuff. He then reportedly went back to Utah and the couple checked out of the hotel on August 24. But, Nicole is suspicious about that whole trip and why it became so necessary for him to clean out the storage unit amid the trip. The devastated mother also asked, “Where are her [Gabby’s] things?”
Meanwhile, Brian and his family have not spoken directly with authorities regarding the case. They have, instead, hired an attorney. When Nicole was asked if she knew why the Laundrie family had done that, she commented, “You know I wish I knew that answer, why. I know that's the reason this story is so sought after is because it's odd. The police have said it's very odd. We don't know what's going on, and where is my daughter. I just want to find her.”
Besides, a new theory has come forward explaining the reason why Brian came to Florida in between their ongoing trip. On August 12, he and Gabby were reportedly involved in an argument and it’s been speculated that he possibly took a break before going back.
Police said a witness saw the young woman allegedly beating Brian during a fight in Utah nearly 15 days before she vanished. A report by the Moab Police Department described the incident as disorderly conduct. A cop stated, “I do not believe the situation escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis.”
Also, when police stopped Brian and Gabby at the entrance of Arches National Park after responding to the incident call, the duo told an officer that they “are in love and engaged to be married and desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime,” the report added.
Responding officer Daniel Scott Robbins wrote, "Gabrielle told me that she suffers from [redacted] with [redacted]. Because of her [redacted] and [redacted], combined with little arguments she and Brian had been having that day, she was struggling with her mental health, which led to the incident that was reported to law enforcement."
Robbins added at "no point in my investigation did Gabrielle stop crying, breathing heavily, or compose a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands."
People on Reddit also expressed their thoughts over Brian coming to Florida and then going back. A person commented, "So he leaves for 6 days & flies across the country to help his dad clean storage units? Anyone else find that incredibly unbelievable? Dad had no one else more convenient to ask? Thinking maybe they were fighting, needed some space, so this was a convenient excuse. She stays behind, maybe something happens with one of them while they’re apart, and things are even worse when he returns resulting in some kind of violent act or abandonment."
Another one suggested: "Her family said they were moving all of gabbys things out of his parents house and into a storage unit. I think they broke up after the domestic fight on the 12th. He went home to clear out her stuff, they reconciled over the phone, he came back and killed her shortly after."
"Clearly they were flat broke, eating instant ramen noodles and getting her dad to order ubereats. BL probably spent his life savings on the trip and then she broke up with him and he couldn't handle it (among other factors). Hoping for the best," the third user added.
Meanwhile, the latest reports have said that Gabby’s stepdad, James Schmidt, has reached Wyoming to aid authorities in search efforts. Her family is shocked and desperate to get answers from Brian, whom they called “selfish and reprehensible.” The man has also been declared a person of interest in the case by the North Port Police Department. North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said, “As a father, I can imagine the pain and suffering Gabby’s family is going through. We are pleading with anyone, including Brian, to share information with us on her whereabouts in the past few weeks. The lack of information from Brian is hindering this investigation. The answers will eventually come out. We will help find Gabby and we will help find anyone who may be involved in her disappearance.”
The North Port Police Department and FBI are working together on the case. Anyone with information regarding the case can contact 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324). Gabby has been described as a White female with a height of around 5′ 5″. She weighs 110 pounds and has blonde hair and blue eyes, and a number of tattoos.