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Police looking into murder of worker of co-op where Petito and Laundrie had fight

Police in Utah are investigating a potential link between ‘van-life’ woman Gabby Petito’s disappearance and the murder of a woman who worked at the Moab co-op where Petito and fiancé Brian Laundrie had an explosive fight. 

Six days after Petito and Laundrie had a physical altercation at Moonflower Community Cooperative, store worker Kylen Schulte, 24, and her wife Crystal Turner, 38, were found dead and partially undressed where they had been camping.  

Schulte and Turner told friends about a ‘creepy man’ that had been bothering them and that ‘if something happened to them, that they were murdered.’ On August 18, their bodies were found at a campsite in the La Sal Mountains, an hour away from Moab. 

Around the time Schulte and Turner were killed in Utah, police across the state line in San Miguel County, Colorado warned campers after they found more than 30 weapons at a man’s campsite in Telluride, just over two hours away from Moab. 

Police said his whereabouts were unknown and it is unclear if police eventually arrested him.

Six days after Petito and Laundrie had a physical altercation at Moonflower Community Cooperative, store worker Kylen Schulte, 24, and her wife Crystal Turner, 38, were found dead and partially undressed where they had been camping

Six days after Petito and Laundrie had a physical altercation at Moonflower Community Cooperative, store worker Kylen Schulte, 24, and her wife Crystal Turner, 38, were found dead and partially undressed where they had been camping

Police in Utah are investigating a potential link between 'van-life' woman Gabby Petito's disappearance and the murder of a woman who worked at the Moab co-op where Petito and fiancé Brian Laundrie had an explosive fight. Around the time Schulte and Turner were killed in Utah, police across the state line in San Miguel County, Colorado warned campers after they found more than 30 weapons at a man's campsite in Telluride

Police in Utah are investigating a potential link between ‘van-life’ woman Gabby Petito’s disappearance and the murder of a woman who worked at the Moab co-op where Petito and fiancé Brian Laundrie had an explosive fight. Around the time Schulte and Turner were killed in Utah, police across the state line in San Miguel County, Colorado warned campers after they found more than 30 weapons at a man’s campsite in Telluride

Petito and Laundrie had started a fight at the Moonflower co-op, before they checked out and continued fighting in their van and police was called

Petito and Laundrie had started a fight at the Moonflower co-op, before they checked out and continued fighting in their van and police was called 

Now police in Moab and North Port, Florida, where Petito and Laundrie lived, are looking into possible links between the the double murder and Petito’s missing person case. 

‘The Grand County Sheriff’s Office has been in contact with Florida authorities and we are actively looking into any connection between the Gabby Petito missing person case and the double homicide that occurred in Grand County,’ the sheriff told FOX in a statement.  

North Port Chief of Police said: ‘We provided them with whatever information we could. They don’t have any [murder] suspect information right now. They told us that they’re looking at everything at this point.’ 

The arsenal found in Telluride included knives, hatchets, a cross-bow and several swords. 

‘In light of the past week’s double homicide of campers outside Moab, l want to caution people to be aware of their surroundings,’ the sheriff office said at the time. 

Police did not release the identity of the man citing ‘pre-trial publicity,’ and as of August 23 his whereabout were unknown. 

‘The individual has been arrested three times in the Norwood and Telluride areas since July 1st for charges including weapons offenses, burglary of a local laundromat, possession of meth, trespassing, and theft. 

‘The judge has repeatedly released this man from jail on PR bonds over the objections of the District Attorney’s office,’ San Miguel County Sheriff shared on Twitter. 

Petito and Laundrie got into a physical fight at the Moonflower co-op on August 12, a day before Schulte and Turner were last seen leaving a bar in Moab.  

Police bodycam footage shows Petito telling cops why she slapped her boyfriend Brian Laundrie in a dramatic incident 13 days before she was last seen in Gran Teton National Park in Wyoming.  She was in a cross-country trip with Laundrie set to end in Halloween, but was reported missing by her mother on Sept 11 two weeks after they last spoke on the phone. 

The video shows an emotional Petito, 22, with tears streaming down her face telling officers she ‘was trying to get him to stop telling me to calm down’ and admitting the couple ‘have been fighting all morning.’ 

In the clip, shot near Moab in Utah, Petito says she suffers from OCD and anxiety, with both her and Laundrie saying she was stressed because of the YouTube blog they were working on to document the doomed cross-country trip. 

Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face and arm which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone’.

He later said she was angry with him because of his dirty feet. When an officer asks Petito if her boyfriend hit her, she replies ‘I guess’ and makes a grabbing motion on her chin. 

Schulte and Turner told friends about a 'creepy man' that had been bothering them and that 'if something happened to them, that they were murdered'

 Schulte and Turner told friends about a ‘creepy man’ that had been bothering them and that ‘if something happened to them, that they were murdered’

The pair was found dead in a nearby creek, partially undressed and with multiple gunshot wounds to the bodies

The pair was found dead in a nearby creek, partially undressed and with multiple gunshot wounds to the bodies

The arsenal found in Telluride included knives, hatchets, a cross-bow and several swords. 'In light of the past week's double homicide of campers outside Moab, l want to caution people to be aware of their surroundings,' the sheriff office said at the time. Police did not release the identity of the man citing 'pre-trial publicity'

Police did not release the identity of the man citing 'pre-trial publicity,'

The arsenal found in Telluride included knives, hatchets, a cross-bow and several swords. ‘In light of the past week’s double homicide of campers outside Moab, l want to caution people to be aware of their surroundings,’ the sheriff office said at the time. Police did not release the identity of the man citing ‘pre-trial publicity’

Laundrie admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation. 

The cops determine Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’ and say they are separating the couple for the night.  

The couple had been traveling around the country in their camper van since early July and were visiting Moab, Utah when they got into an altercation, an incident report reveals. 

The report says officers received reports of a ‘possible domestic violence’ incident involving the couple near the Moonflower Community Co-op in Moab on August 12 around 4:30pm.

The report, released by the Moab Police Department on Wednesday, documented that the couple admitted they had been going through ‘issues’ over the last couple days.  

On Thursday, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said at a press conference the case was still being treated as a missing person’s enquiry, and that there is so far no evidence of criminality in her disappearance.

‘Right now, we are investigating a missing person case,’ he said.  

Garrison, joined by Petito’s dad, said police were aware of Laundrie’s current location but ‘right now, no’ they cannot bring him in for questioning. 

‘Two people went on a trip, one person returned. And that person that returned isn’t providing us any information,’ he said. 

Garrison added that it was Laundrie’s ‘constitutional right’ not to speak with law enforcement but said his lawyer had handed over some property they requested from him.   

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A tearful Petito is seen in the back of the police car. Laundrie admits he 'pushed her' during the altercation and cops determine Petito was 'the primary aggressor'

A tearful Petito is seen in the back of the police car. Laundrie admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation and cops determine Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’ 

Emotional new police bodycam footage has revealed the moment Utah cops asked missing 'van-life' woman Gabby Petito why she slapped her boyfriend Brian Laundrie in a dramatic incident 13 days before she disappeared on their cross-country trip

Emotional new police bodycam footage has revealed the moment Utah cops asked missing ‘van-life’ woman Gabby Petito why she slapped her boyfriend Brian Laundrie in a dramatic incident 13 days before she disappeared on their cross-country trip

Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face which he tells an officer were caused when Petito 'was trying to get the keys from me' and 'hit me with her phone'

Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone’

Laundrie shows the officers his hands during the incident on August 12 - two weeks before his girlfriend vanished

Laundrie shows the officers his hands during the incident on August 12 – two weeks before his girlfriend vanished 

The statement from Brian Laundrie’s attorney:

‘Many people are wondering why Mr. Laundrie would not make a statement or speak with law enforcement in the face of Ms. Petito’s absence. 

‘In my experience, intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focus their attention on in cases like this and the warning that ‘any statement made will be used against you’ is true, regardless of whether my client had anything to do with Ms. Petito’s disappearance. 

‘As such, on the advice of counsel Mr. Laundrie is not speaking on the matter.

‘I have been informed that the North Port, Florida police have named Brian Laundrie as a ‘person of interest’ in this matter. 

‘This formality has not really changed the circumstances of Mr. Laundrie being the focus of attention of law enforcement and Mr. Laundrie will continue to remain silent on the advice of counsel.’

Petito was reported missing on September 11 after her family hadn’t heard from her in 13 days. She last spoke to her mother on the phone on August 25 and her last known location was Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Laundrie returned to their home in North Port, Florida, alone on September 1 in the couple’s camper van – which has now been seized by police – 10 days before she was reported missing.

On Wednesday police officially named Laundrie a ‘person of interest’ in her mystery disappearance and said he is refusing to cooperate with their investigation. 

Laundrie’s attorney released a statement saying he is not speaking to police or making a statement ‘on the advice of counsel’ because ‘intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focus their attention on in cases like this.’

Petito’s father Joe told Fox & Friends First the focus must be ‘to make sure we get my daughter home first’ and then ‘we’ll start worrying about Brian’ later.      

‘I don’t care what happens to him right now,’ said Petito’s father. 

‘That can’t be my primary focus if he’s going to sit in the comfort of his home, you know, and get home cooked meals, why my daughter’s out, you know, God knows where, you know, I don’t give two craps about him.’

‘I got to be out there to help her, because the one person who is supposed to be leading the charge is sitting home in his lazy boy chair, you know, not talking to anybody.’  

Joe said learning about the August 12 incident and Laundrie being named a person of interest, had left him feeling ‘it’s not what you thought it was.’

However, he said he just wants to keep the focus on finding his daughter.  

‘It’s not what you thought it was,’ he said.

‘August 12, the person of interest… I get it from a legal side of it but from a family side we don’t have Gabby. 

‘I want to care about finding my daughter first. That’s my first objective.’  

The bodycam footage shows an officer reporting that the driver of a vehicle ahead is showing ‘obscure driving’, driving 45mph in a 15mph road, and is ‘possibly intoxicated.’ 

He says the vehicle has bumped a curb and puts the sirens on.

The officer then gets out the vehicle and approaches the couple’s white camper van, which they have pulled over. 

Petito, who is crying, is seen sitting in the the passenger seat and Laundrie is driving. 

The officer asks them to turn off the vehicle and asks their names and ‘What’s going on? Why are you crying?’ 

‘We’ve just been fighting this morning, some personal issues,’ says Petito.

Laundrie says it was ‘a long day’ of camping yesterday. 

The officer asks Petito to step out of the vehicle and takes her down the road, separating the couple to ask her what happened.

‘I have OCD and I was just cleaning and straightening…,’ she says, while sobbing. 

‘And I was apologizing to him and saying I’m sorry that I am so mean as sometimes I am so mean because I have OCD and get really frustrated.

‘Not like mean towards him, I guess my vibe is like in a bad mood, and I said I’m sorry I’m in a bad mood I am stressed I had so much work.’

She tells the officer they are traveling the country and trying to ‘build a blog’. 

‘We have been fighting all morning and he wouldn’t let me in the car before,’ she says.  

When the officer asks why he wouldn’t let her in the car, she says ‘he told me needed to calm down’ adding that he ‘really stresses me out’ and that it’s ‘been a rough morning.’ 

A map shows the last known movements of Petito and Laundrie along their cross-country road trip which began July 2

A map shows the last known movements of Petito and Laundrie along their cross-country road trip which began July 2

According to the document, cops were called to a local business in Moab, Utah on August 12, after a witness reported seeing the couple 'arguing over a phone' outside their van

According to the document, cops were called to a local business in Moab, Utah on August 12, after a witness reported seeing the couple ‘arguing over a phone’ outside their van 

The officer tells Petito she is ‘not in any trouble’ and escorts her to the back of the cop car so she can ‘take a breath’ and have ‘a few minutes.’  

The officer then asks Laundrie to step out the vehicle and asks him what has happened. 

‘She gets really worked up sometimes and I try to distance myself from it,’ Laundrie says.  

Laundrie also mentions her work on the blog and that ‘she got worked up.’

He goes on to say they had a ‘little squabble’ which started in the coffee shop ‘when I moved our food around’ and ‘I’m dirty, and I can’t change being dirty, I got sand in my flip flops and stuff.’

The officer asks about the scratches on his face, with Laundrie explaining that there was an altercation involving her cellphone and their keys. 

‘She had her cellphone in her hand, that’s why I was pushing her away,’ he says.

‘Coz I had the keys… I said let’s take a breather and let’s not go anywhere. Let’s calm down a minute.’

He adds: ‘And she had her phone, and was trying to get the keys from me. 

‘I know I shouldn’t have pushed her but I was just trying to push her away to say take a minute step back and breathe. And she hit me with her phone.’  

A tearful Petito tells cops she has OCD and anxiety and that she was stressed because she was trying to 'build a blog'

A tearful Petito tells cops she has OCD and anxiety and that she was stressed because she was trying to ‘build a blog’

When an officer asks Petito if her boyfriend hit her, she replies 'I guess' and gestures to her chin. Petito admits he 'pushed her' during the altercation

When an officer asks Petito if her boyfriend hit her, she replies ‘I guess’ and gestures to her chin. Petito admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation

Laundrie shows cops his arms which they say note scratches on, before officers determine Petito was the 'primary aggressor'

Laundrie shows cops his arms which they say note scratches on, before officers determine Petito was the ‘primary aggressor’

At one point, officers check Laundrie’s hands, arm and torso, noting scratch marks on his arm.  

A second officer is then seen talking to Petito who is sitting in the back of the cop car.

‘Did he hit you?’ the officer asks.

‘I guess,’ she replies, becoming tearful.

When the officer asks where Laundrie hit her, she clasps her chin in a grabbing motion.

‘He like, did that with his hand,’ she says.

Much of the audio is unclear at this point.

Petito tells the officers she suffers from ‘anxiety’ and that Laundrie ‘gets frustrated a lot’.

She insists neither of them have been drinking because ‘we don’t drink’. 

Petito admits she was ‘yelling at him’, then said ‘you’re an idiot” and made a punching motion.   

She is later seen in the back of the car with a distressed expression on her face and her hands clasped in front of her on her lap. 

‘Were you attempting to cause him physical pain or impairment? Is that what you were attempting to do to him?’ an officer asks.

Petito, who is looking at the officer, replies no.

The cops determine Petito was 'the primary aggressor' and say they are separating the couple (pictured together) for the night

The cops determine Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’ and say they are separating the couple (pictured together) for the night

‘What were you attempting to do?’ the cop asks.

‘What was the reason behind the slapping and stuff? What was it you were attempting to accomplish by the slapping?’

‘I was trying to get him to stop telling me to calm down,’ Petito says, as her face crumples in tears.

The officer replies to her that ‘it doesn’t sound good.’

Later in the footage, the officer is seen telling Petito he will be keeping her and Laundrie apart for the night.  

‘I am separating you two tonight, okay?’ the officer is heard telling Petito.

The 22-year-old nods through tears in response and mouths ‘okay.’

‘I want you guys both to be tonight, away from each other,’ the officer says. 

‘Relax, breathe, because there’s no need to be crying now,’ he tells Petito.

Petito nods and wipes tears from her eyes.  

‘I understand that this can feel like a nightmare,’ the officer says. 

‘But you have come out as the golden flower on top.’

The cops are also seen talking in the footage about the accounts given by Petito, Laundrie and the witness who reported the incident to police, where they agree she was ‘the primary aggressor.’

Laundrie says he doesn’t want to pursue any charges but the cops say they have no choice but to separate the pair for the night.  

In his report, responding officer Daniel Scott Robbins said he pulled the couple over as they were driving towards Arches National Park and noticed Gabby 'crying uncontrollably' in the passenger seat

In his report, responding officer Daniel Scott Robbins said he pulled the couple over as they were driving towards Arches National Park and noticed Gabby ‘crying uncontrollably’ in the passenger seat

According to the police incident report, a witness, identified only as Christopher, had reported seeing the pair ‘arguing over a phone.’ 

In his account, one of the responding officers Eric Pratt, wrote that ‘all three individuals’ – Gabby, Laundrie, and the witness – gave ‘a similar and consistent story, consisting of the basic idea that the driver of the van, a male, had some sort of argument with the female.’

Pratt said no one reported ‘that the male struck the female’ and that both Gabby and Laundrie said ‘they are in love and engaged to be married and desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime.’

The report reveals Laundrie told officers that he had tried to create distance between the two by telling Gabby ‘to go take a walk to calm down’, but ‘she didn’t want to be separated from [him] and began slapping him.’

‘He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van, he tried to lock her out and succeeded except for his driver’s door, she opened that and forced her way over him and into the vehicle before it drove off,’ Pratt states.   

The bystander who reported the incident told cops a similar version of events but noted that he saw ‘what appeared to him as Gabrielle hitting Brian in the arm and then climbing through the driver’s window’ after she appeared to be locked out. 

A second officer, Daniel Scott Robbins, later located the couple – who had already left the scene by then – driving in their Ford Transit van towards Arches National Park and pulled them over.  

He said he noticed Gabby ‘crying uncontrollably’ in the passenger seat as he approached the vehicle and asked to speak to her outside. 

The report was redacted to conceal sensitive information but suggests Gabby told police she and Laundrie became embroiled in an altercation that was fueled by mental health issues. 

Cops received reports of a possible domestic violence incident near the Moonflower Community Co-op in Moab on August 12

Cops received reports of a possible domestic violence incident near the Moonflower Community Co-op in Moab on August 12

The above map illustrates the places Petito and Laundrie visited since the start of the trip leaving New York on July 2 to when she last spoke to her family on August 25 from Grand Teton National Park

‘Gabrielle told me that she suffers from [redacted] with [redacted],’ Robbins wrote. 

‘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.’ 

He added that at ‘no point’ in his investigation did Gabby ‘stop crying, breathing heavily, or compose a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands.’ 

Robbins said that he had seen Petito and Laundrie’s van traveling 45mph in a 15mph zone while he tried to catch up to them earlier and activated his lights to initiate a traffic stop.

But upon doing so, he noticed the vehicle abruptly swerve to the right and the rear right wheels hit the curb before finally coming to a stop. 

Robbins said Petito later told him that this was a result of her trying to get Laundrie’s ‘attention to notice me as I was behind them with my lights on’ and that she did not intend to hurt him.

But during his conversation with the cop shortly after, Laundrie said that when he noticed police lights flashing behind them, he thought Gabby ‘had grabbed the wheel of the van and pulled it, causing the van to hit the curb.’ 

The report says Laundrie told the officer both he and Gabby suffer from the same problem and that issues between the two ‘had been building over the last few days.’ 

‘This in turn, caused them to argue more than usual,’ Robbins wrote. ‘Brian explained he and Gabrielle have been traveling together for the last four or five months. 

‘That time spent created emotional strain between them and increased the number of arguments.’

Police on Tuesday revealed they responded to an 'incident' involving 22-year-old 'van-life woman' Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, two weeks before she was last seen

Police on Tuesday revealed they responded to an ‘incident’ involving 22-year-old ‘van-life woman’ Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, two weeks before she was last seen

Gabby's family lashed out at the Laundries in a statement Tuesday. '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.'

Gabby’s family lashed out at the Laundries in a statement Tuesday. ‘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.’

Laundrie went on to describe the events leading up to the altercation, saying he and Gabby had gotten into an argument near Main Street and he tried to create space between them ‘so they could calm their emotions.’ 

He said he then got into their van and that Gabby went into a ‘manic state.’

‘Brian said Gabrielle, thinking he was going to leave her in Moab without a ride, went to slap him,’ the report states. 

He then pushed her away in an attempt to dodge the hit, but still sustained minor visible scratches to his face. 

When questioned about the scratches to his right arm, Brian told Robbins they must’ve happened when Gabby was trying to alert him that they were being pulled over by police, the report states. 

‘This, however, was not consistent with Gabrielle’s statement, further suggesting her confused and emotional state,’ the officer wrote. 

Robbins later concluded that he did not believe the situation ‘escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis.’ 

According to officer, both expressed a ‘desire to remain together and ultimately agreed to be separated’ with Brian staying in a hotel room and Gabby in the van until the following day. 

A statement provided by a second responding officer, Eric Pratt, said he believed the initial witness reported that it was Laundrie who had ‘assaulted’ Petito.

‘It wasn’t clear, but I believe it was reported the male had been observed to have assaulted the female,’ he wrote.

Laundrie was then assessed to be ‘at low risk of danger or harm as a result of his proximity’ to Gabby and no charges were filed, Pratt wrote. 

Nicole Schmidt, of Long Island, New York, gave a teary-eyed interview to reporters in Bohemia on Monday afternoon about her daughter Gabby Petitio, who has been missing since August 24. Schmidt tells DailyMail.com that on September 10 she texted Brian and his mother Roberta trying to get in touch with Gabby, but neither replied

Nicole Schmidt, of Long Island, New York, gave a teary-eyed interview to reporters in Bohemia on Monday afternoon about her daughter Gabby Petitio, who has been missing since August 24. Schmidt tells DailyMail.com that on September 10 she texted Brian and his mother Roberta trying to get in touch with Gabby, but neither replied 

Cops investigating the disappearance of Gabby Petito say they are not ruling out a link to the double-murder of a young newlywed couple 

Police investigating the disappearance of ‘van-life’ woman Gabby Petito have said they are not ruling out a link to the double-murder of a young newlywed couple.

Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Turner, 38, were found shot dead near their campsite in the La Sal Mountains in Moab, Utah, on August 18.

Their bodies were discovered by a friend after they told several people about a ‘creepy man’ around their campsite. 

They were last seen alive on August 13 at Woody’s Tavern in Moab – one day after police were called to a nearby incident involving Petito and boyfriend Brian Laundrie on August 12. 

There are other bizarre connections between the two cases.

Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Turner, 38, were found shot dead in Moab, Utah, on August 18

Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Turner, 38, were found shot dead in Moab, Utah, on August 18

Schulte and Turner were also living in a camper van after marrying four months ago. 

Schulte had also worked for the last four years at the Moonflower Community Cooperative.

The store was identified in the police report detailing the August 12 incident involving Petito and Laundrie.

Officers had been called to near the store around 4:30pm that day for a ‘possible domestic violence’ incident. 

Utah police said Wednesday they are not ruling out a possible connection between the couple’s murder and Petito’s disappearance, reported Fox13.  

‘We’re looking at everything,’ said a Grand County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson. 

‘I mean, anything and everything that was suspicious around that time or we’re not ruling anything out at this time. So we’re just investigating the information as it comes in.’

On Tuesday, Moab Chief of Police Bret Edge confirmed that cops had responded to an incident involving the pair but they later ‘determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges,’ Fox News reported. 

He did not disclose additional details at the time. 

Addressing reports of the incident on Wednesday, Gabby’s mother, Nichole Schmidt told DailyMail.com: ‘It’s irrelevant. 

‘Two people traveling together with each other 24 hours a day, it’s not going to be perfect, it was an argument, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.’ 

The family released a statement Wednesday condemning Laundrie as the ‘one person that can help find Gabby refuses to help.’

‘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?’ they said.

‘The Schmidt and Petito family implore Brian to come forward and at least tell us if we are looking in the right area.’ 

Meanwhile, Laundrie’s attorney released a statement saying he is ‘not speaking on the matter’ and ‘will continue to remain silent on the advice of counsel.’

‘Many people are wondering why Mr. Laundrie would not make a statement or speak with law enforcement in the face of Ms. Petito’s absence,’ the statement read.

‘In my experience, intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focus their attention on in cases like this and the warning that ‘any statement made will be used against you’ is true, regardless of whether my client had anything to do with Ms. Petito’s disappearance. 

‘As such, on the advice of counsel Mr. Laundrie is not speaking on the matter.

‘I have been informed that the North Port, Florida police have named Brian Laundrie as a ‘person of interest’ in this matter. 

‘This formality has not really changed the circumstances of Mr. Laundrie being the focus of attention of law enforcement and Mr. Laundrie will continue to remain silent on the advice of counsel.’ 

Laundrie was named a person of interest by police Wednesday, who said he ‘has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators or has provided any helpful details.’

Petito, who had been traveling across the country with Laundrie in their camper van since July 2, was last known to have been visiting Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on August 25.

She was reported missing by her mother on September 11, two weeks after she had last spoken on to her on the phone, and ten days after Laundrie returned to his home in North Port, Florida without her.

Laundrie, who drove to Florida in the van he shared with Petito, has since hired a lawyer and refused to tell Petito’s family where she was last seen.   

Schmidt sent her daughter’s boyfriend and his family desperate texts looking for her but was ignored.  

Schmidt said they'd been a couple for a little over two years, but met growing up in Long Island. 'They went to high school together. They were friends. They got back in touch and started dating'

Schmidt said they'd been a couple for a little over two years, but met growing up in Long Island. 'They went to high school together. They were friends. They got back in touch and started dating'

Schmidt said they’d been a couple for a little over two years, but met growing up in Long Island. ‘They went to high school together. They were friends. They got back in touch and started dating’

Gabby set out on a cross-country trip July 2 with boyfriend Brian Laundrie in the couple's 2012 Ford Transit van. Brian posted this photo of the couple on Instagram on July 16 at Zion National Park

Gabby set out on a cross-country trip July 2 with boyfriend Brian Laundrie in the couple’s 2012 Ford Transit van. Brian posted this photo of the couple on Instagram on July 16 at Zion National Park

Schmidt told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview that on September 10 she reached out to Brian and his mother Roberta Laundrie trying to reach her daughter after she had not heard from her. 

The gloves are off: Schmidt and Petito want answers

‘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.’

‘I texted Brian’s mom that I was trying to get in touch with Gabby. I also texted Brian. I got no replies,’ Schmidt said. 

‘I knew something was wrong,’ she said. ‘I felt something was off and I needed to get her reported missing immediately.’

She went to report Gabby missing later that day but police initially blew her off. The next day, she was allowed to file a report with the Suffolk County police department. 

Brian’s family have since refused to let authorities interview their son when the van that the couple had traveled in before she disappeared was seized from their property late on Saturday night.

Schmidt said Brian’s sister Cassie is the only member of Brian’s family who has spoken to authorities.

She said she can’t understand why neither Brian nor his parents have reached out to her in the aftermath of her daughter’s disappearance.

‘It’s a very mysterious situation. We don’t understand why he’s doing this. Everybody’s assuming the worst and thinking he’s guilty of this. But I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe she’s just in need of help out there and that everybody needs to keep searching.’ 

Schmidt described how Brian’s parents had been warm and welcoming to Gabby during their relationship. She recalled a time when his mother even knitted her future daughter-in-law gifts for Christmas.

‘She loved her like a daughter,’ Schmidt said. ‘As far as I knew they were all very caring and treated her like one of the family. His mom was so excited about the engagement.’ 

The distraught mother also clarified that Gabby and Brian had been engaged, but decided to call it off and go back to just dating because they felt they were too young for marriage. 

 ‘I think they kind of put that on hold just because they felt it was a little fast. They were excited at first, but then they were like, let’s just wait, we’re very young. So they were really just boyfriend and girlfriend,’ she said. 

She said they’d been a couple for a little over two years, but met growing up in Long Island.

‘They went to high school together. They were friends. They got back in touch and started dating,’ she said. 

Brian Laundrie's parents Christopher and Roberta refused to let police speak with their son. He returned to their home on North Port,Florida on September 1

Brian Laundrie's parents Christopher and Roberta refused to let police speak with their son. He returned to their home on North Port,Florida on September 1

Brian Laundrie’s parents Christopher and Roberta refused to let police speak with their son. He returned to their home on North Port,Florida on September 1 

Above is the Laundrie family home in North Port, Florida, where Brian Laundrie returned in the couple's van without Gabby after their trip

Above is the Laundrie family home in North Port, Florida, where Brian Laundrie returned in the couple’s van without Gabby after their trip 

In light of the disappearance, Schmidt says she’s now viewing everything under a new lens.

‘Maybe the relationship wasn’t what I thought,’ she said.

Schmidt has recently seen photos in the news of Brian’s father performing yard work.

‘If they cared about her, they would want to find her,’ she said. ‘Why aren’t you out helping find her?’

‘I don’t want to seem accusatory,’ she said. ‘It’s confusing, my mind is turning right now.’  

She’s also questioning Brian’s trip back to Florida in August to help his father move their things into a storage unit. She wonders why it was necessary to move Gabby’s things during their road trip and what became of her stuff.

‘Where are her things?’ she asked. 

Asked why Brian chose to lawyer up, she replied, ‘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.’

Gabby, who grew up in Blue Point, New York, was last seen on August 24 checking out of a hotel with Brian in Salt Lake City, Utah

The following day she made her final call to her family, telling them that she and Brian had traveled to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.  

Her last Instagram post on August 25, shows her visiting the Monarch Wall in Ogden, Utah with the caption ‘Happy Halloween’. The pair were heading from Ogden to Yellowstone National Park, just north of Grand Teton. 

Gabby Petito’s father says the main priority is to get her home safely – and then he’ll start worrying about why her boyfriend refuses to speak to cops: ‘The one person who is supposed to be leading the charge is sitting home in his lazy boy chair’ 

Gaby Petito’s father has said the focus must be ‘to make sure we get my daughter home first’ and then ‘we’ll start worrying about’ her boyfriend Brian Laundrie later – after he was named a ‘person of interest’ in her disappearance and is still refusing to cooperate with police. 

Joe Petito told Fox & Friends First Thursday he doesn’t ‘give two craps’ about Laundrie and slammed him for ‘sitting home in his lazy boy chair’ instead of helping in the search for his missing girlfriend.   

‘I don’t care what happens to him right now,’ said Petito’s father. 

‘That can’t be my primary focus if he’s going to sit in the comfort of his home, you know, and get home cooked meals, why my daughter’s out, you know, God knows where, you know, I don’t give two craps about him.

‘I got to be out there to help her, because the one person who is supposed to be leading the charge is sitting home in his lazy boy chair, you know, not talking to anybody.’ 

He added: ‘I want to worry about getting my daughter home first and then we’ll start worrying about Brian.’ 

Gaby Petito's father has said the focus must be 'to make sure we get my daughter home first' and then 'we'll start worrying about' her boyfriend Brian Laundrie later - after he was named a 'person of interest' in her disappearance and is still refusing to cooperate with police

Gaby Petito’s father has said the focus must be ‘to make sure we get my daughter home first’ and then ‘we’ll start worrying about’ her boyfriend Brian Laundrie later – after he was named a ‘person of interest’ in her disappearance and is still refusing to cooperate with police

Joe also hit out at Laundrie’s family who have so far shielded him from law enforcement. 

Police said they attempted to speak with Laundrie at his family property at the weekend but his parents refused to allow officers from doing so.

‘It must be very difficult for the Laundrie family to have their son home while we’re looking for ours so I’m not too concerned with how they’re feeling,’ said Joe.  

Petito’s family issued a statement Wednesday slamming Laundrie for his refusal to cooperate saying the ‘one person that can help find Gabby refuses to help’ and urging him to break his silence about what happened. 

An attorney for Laundrie meanwhile said his client is not speaking ‘on the advice of counsel’ because it may be used against him as ‘intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focus their attention on in cases like this’. 

John said the new developments in the case, including Laundrie being named a person of interest and the release of the police report from the August 12 ‘domestic incident’ involving the couple, had left him feeling ‘it’s not what you thought it was.’

However, he said he just wants to keep the focus on finding his daughter.  

‘It’s not what you thought it was,’ he said.

Joe Petito told Fox & Friends First Thursday he doesn't 'give two craps' about Laundrie and slammed him for 'sitting home in his lazy boy chair' instead of helping in the search for his missing girlfriend

Joe Petito told Fox & Friends First Thursday he doesn’t ‘give two craps’ about Laundrie and slammed him for ‘sitting home in his lazy boy chair’ instead of helping in the search for his missing girlfriend

‘August 12, the person of interest… I get it from a legal side of it but from a family side we don’t have Gabby. 

‘I want to care about finding my daughter first. That’s my first objective.’ 

Petito’s father said it was ‘heart-wrenching’ that he is unable to hug his daughter, saying she ‘needs help and she is nowhere to be found.’

‘It’s heart-wrenching,’ he said.

‘That’s my only daughter. Right now I can’t give her a hug and she needs it, she needs help and she is nowhere to be found.’ 

He added: ‘I don’t know where do you even begin. We’re just doing what we can and it’s just difficult.

‘She needs help and we got to get it to her.’ 

Joe said he didn’t want to speculate on what has happened to his daughter because ‘when I put scenarios in my head it doesn’t end well.’

‘I can’t focus on that,’ he said, adding that he was hopeful she was ‘just stuck somewhere’.  

‘If I think oif any other type of scenario in my head, I’m going to be on the floor so I can’t do that,’ he said. 

‘I got to focus that she is hurt and needs our help and we’ve got to find her as fast as we can.’  


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