FBI adds Gabby Petito's killer to Most Wanted list as Brian Laundrie remains at large
The FBI has added Gabby Petito's case to its Most Wanted list as her missing fiance Brian Laundrie remains at large as a "person of interest" in her death.
Petito's remains were identified on Tuesday, September 21, as authorities ruled her death a homicide. The lawyer representing Laundrie's family said, "May Gabby rest in peace", when pushed for a statement. Meanwhile, the FBI continues to hunt down details on her final days, searching for information from people who may have seen the 22-year-old road tripper between August 27 and August 30 in the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area.
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According to a search warrant for Laundrie's residence, Petito's mother Nicole Schmidt last heard from her on August 27, after which her phone was turned off. Her family reported her missing on September 11, sparking a large-scale manhunt, and her remains were found near the aforementioned camping area on Sunday, September 19
"Ms Petito was on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend visiting national parks in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming," the FBI said on Tuesday. "They were driving a white 2012 Ford Transit van with a variety of stickers on the back. The van is registered to Ms Petito with Florida plate QFTG03."
The agency said in a stern statement Tuesday that they wished to speak to Laundrie and that they would hold Petito's killer accountable at any cost. "The FBI's commitment to justice is at the forefront of each and every investigation," FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Scheider said as Petito's remains were identified. "The FBI and our partners remain dedicated to ensuring anyone responsible for or complicit in Ms Petito's death is held accountable for their actions. Mr Brian Laundrie has been named a person of interest," he added. "Anyone with information concerning Mr Laudrie's role in this manner or his current whereabouts should contact the FBI."
Laundrie's lawyer canceled a press conference that was due to take place on Tuesday, instead issued the five-world statement on behalf of the family. Meanwhile, Petito's family is yet to speak publicly since her body was identified. Speaking to Business Insider earlier on Tuesday, the family's attorney Richard Stafford confirmed the identification and released a statement thanking the media and public "for giving the Petito and Schmidt family time to grieve." He added, "We will be making a statement when Gabby is home."
The YouTuber and Instagram personality had been on a cross-country road trip since July and was last seen on August 24 leaving a Utah hotel with her fiance. The duo visited a series of national parks and tourist attractions before she mysteriously disappeared. Authorities found their white Ford Transit van in North Port, Florida, during the weekend of September 11, the same day she was reported missing by her family. The vehicle was parked outside Laundrie's residence, where he and Petito had reportedly lived for the past two years.
Laundrie is said to have returned to Florida by himself on September 1 and lawyered up shortly after. However, on September 12, he reportedly went missing after being named a "person of interest" in the case. His parents subsequently called the FBI to their home and told them they had not seen him since Tuesday, when he said he was going on a hike and never returned. The parents said they drove his car home from the hiking spot two days after they last saw him and a day before they reported him missing. Investigators seized the silver mustang as well as a hard drive that is said to contain evidence on Petito's final "odd" texts.
That said, police are currently probing several "sightings" of Laundrie across the country, but have not found a trace of the 23-year-old as yet.
If you or anyone you know has information related to the case, you are urged to contact the FBI online at tips.fbi.gov, or by phone to 1-800-CALL-FBI or 303-629-7171.