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Search For Long Island Woman Goes National, Police Eye Uncooperative BF As Person Of Interest

Gabby Petito and boyfriend Brian Laundrie (inset)
Gabby Petito and boyfriend Brian Laundrie (inset) Photo Credit: Gabby Petito Instagram

The search for Long Island's Gabby Petito has gone national as police eye her boyfriend as a possible suspect.

She and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, left Long Island in early July for a cross-country trip in her 2012 Ford Transit van. Petito's mom reported her missing to Suffolk County police on Sept. 1, since last hearing from her on Aug. 30.

Meanwhile, Laundrie returned to his North Port, Florida home in his girlfriend's van after their cross-country trip together, has refused to cooperate with authorities.

“As a father, I can imagine the pain and suffering Gabby’s family is going through,” said North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison, whose department is being assisted by law enforcement agencies including the FBI across the US.

“We are pleading with anyone, including Brian, to share information with us on her whereabouts in the past weeks. The lack of information from Brian is hindering this investigation."

Petito's family has frantically begged Laundrie to explain why he returned home in Petito's van without her.  Laundrie broke his silence for the first time on Sept. 14 through his attorney, Steve Bertolino.

"This is an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family," he said. "I understand that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

"On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family. On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment."

Police in Moab, Utah said they were called to an "incident" involving the two on Thursday, Aug. 12. 

Moab Chief of Police Bret Edge said officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges, according to FOX News.

All tips with information on Petito’s disappearance can be reported to 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).

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