- Click here for an updated story: 'Do The Right Thing' Missing NY Woman's Family Tells Boyfriend As New Details Emerge In Case
The boyfriend of a missing New York woman has been named as a person of interest by the Florida police department who has taken the lead on the case.
The national search into the disappearance of 22-year-old Long Island native Gabrielle Petito of Blue Point, in Suffolk County, and North Port, Florida continues as police announced on Wednesday, Sept. 15, that Brian Laundrie has been named a person of interest in the case.
"Several detectives are working around the clock to piece this complex and far-reaching situation together," North Port Police said. "Gabrielle’s vehicle was recovered here in North Port at her home on Sept. 11th. A home shared with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie and his parents."
North Port Police said the van was fully processed for evidence along with FBI agents Tuesday, Sept. 14.
Petito and Laundrie left Long Island in early July for a cross-country trip in her 2012 Ford Transit van.
Petito, who was last known to be in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in late August, was reported missing to Suffolk County Police on Saturday, Sept. 11, by her mother after last being heard from on Monday, Aug. 30.
As of now, Laundrie has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators or has provided any helpful details, police added.
"We know Brian returned here to North Port on September 1st — 10 days before her family reported her missing on September 11th," they said. "We have no information that a crime occurred here in North Port. Brian Laundrie is a person of interest in this case."
Petito's Instagram account, which had been taken down, is now back up. It includes a link to an eight-minute YouTube victory called "VAN LIFE: Beginning Our Van Life Journey."
“As a father, I can imagine the pain and suffering Gabby’s family is going through," said North Point Police Chief Todd Garrison. "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 FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips. 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). That is now our primary tip line.
"So far, we have received hundreds of tips that are being vetted through multiple agencies. If anyone has seen the van photographed and information that might be helpful, please let us know," the department said.
According to the family, they were last in contact with Petito during the last week of August. Prior to the last communication, Petito is believed to have been in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
The couple was traveling in a white 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida license plate QFTG03.
Petito is approximately 5-feet-5 inches tall and 110 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads “let it be.”
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