© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Gabrielle Petito, 22, who was reported missing on Sept. 11, 2021 after traveling with her boyfriend around the country in a van and never returned home, is shown in this undated handout photo. North Port/Florida Police/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) – Florida police and the FBI were searching for the boyfriend of missing Florida woman Gabby Petito on Friday, CNN and local media reported, after his family said they had not seen him in three days.
The disappearance of Brian Laundrie, 23, may further complicate the search for Gabby Petito, who was reported missing on Sept. 11. The couple had left on a cross-country road trip in June. Laundrie returned home alone to North Port, Florida.
The family “called us there this evening. They are now claiming they have not seen their son since Tuesday,” North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor told CNN. “We’ve been trying all week talk to his family, talk to Brian.”
A Florida attorney representing Laundrie told local broadcaster WSPA-TV that his whereabouts were unknown and that police and FBI agents were looking for him.
Laundrie, who lived with Petito, 22, in North Port, 70 miles (110 miles) south of St. Petersburg on Florida’s west coast, has refused to speak with investigators.
Police have labeled him a “person of interest https://www.reuters.com/world/us/florida-police-name-missing-womans-boyfriend-person-interest-2021-09-15,” not a suspect, in the high-profile disappearance, which has made nationwide headlines even as police say they have no solid evidence that a crime has been committed.
Several police officers and two FBI agents were seen at the Laundrie home on Friday, at one point searching a silver Ford Mustang parked in the driveway.
Petito and Laundrie had driven west from New York with the intention of visiting national parks across the nation. They posted pictures and videos on social media as they traveled.
Petito’s family said they lost contact with Gabby in late August, possibly while she was visiting Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Laundrie returned to North Port without her on Sept. 1.
Petito’s parents in Suffolk County on New York City’s Long Island, reported her missing 10 days later.
Laundrie’s attorney has defended his client’s silence, saying that anything he told police could be used against him later, “regardless of whether my client had anything to do with Ms. Petito’s disappearance.”
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