Father, stepfather speak out on Gabby Petito’s disappearance

Father Joe Petito and stepfather Jim Schmidt discuss the search for Gabby in Jackson, Wyoming, her fiancé, and the statement he put out through his lawyer

Police have named Brian Laundrie, the fiancé of a missing 22-year-old woman named Gabby Petito, a person of interest in their investigation into her disappearance.

Brian Laundrie, 23, has not been charged with a crime, but police in his hometown of North Port, Florida, said they are now considering him a person of interest in a Wednesday tweet.

“As of now, Brian has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators or has provided any helpful details,” police said. “We know Brian returned here to North Port on September 1st — ten days before her family reported her missing on September 11th. We have no information that a crime occurred here in North Port.”

The couple was traveling cross-country in their Ford Transit van and sharing photos and videos of their trip to social media. The 22-year-old Petito’s mother reported her missing on Sept. 11, but they had last spoken in the final week of August.

Laundrie has hired an attorney and returned to Florida – in Petito’s van – as a search is underway in Wyoming. The missing woman’s family says he refused to tell them where he last saw her.

Police seized the van Monday as part of their investigation, which involves law enforcement agencies in multiple states and the FBI, the latter of which began a forensic examination on the vehicle Tuesday, North Port police told Fox News.

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The vehicle was discovered on Sept. 11 at Petito’s home shared with Laundrie, police said in their Wednesday tweet.

“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,” North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said in a Wednesday statement. “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.”

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the case to contact the FBI’s tip line at 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324).

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.

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