The family of the New York woman who went missing on a trip across the country said on Tuesday that her fiance, who was traveling with her, declined to say where he last saw her or why he was returned from the trip without her. .
The family of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, 22, of the hamlet of Blue Point on Long Island, reported her missing over the weekend when she fell out of contact during a road trip in Wyoming. They have now said that Brian Laundrie, her fiancé who was traveling with her, would not help her find her.
“The Schmidt and Petito family are going through the worst times of their lives,” Richard Stafford, the family’s attorney, said in a statement to NBC News. “Their beautiful twenty-two year old daughter is missing and the only person who can help find Gabby is refusing to help her.”
“Brian Laundrie was traveling with Gabby in the Grand Teton – Yellowstone area. They were traveling together in Gabby’s 2012 Ford Transit van. This is where we think Gabby was last seen,” said Stafford.
Laundrie’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Petito’s family’s statement. Police have not identified Laundrie as a suspect, nor have they linked him to Petito’s disappearance.
Earlier Tuesday, the fiancé’s family released a statement saying it was “an extremely difficult time for both the Peitto family and the Laundrie family.”
“We understand that a search has been arranged for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming,” the family said in a statement issued by their attorney, Steven P. Bertolino. “On behalf of the Laundrie family, we hope that the search for Miss Petito will be successful and that Miss Petito will be reunited with her family.”
They added: “On the advice of the lawyer, the Laundrie family remain in the background at this point and will have no further comment.”
Petito’s family lawyer responded directly to the statement on Tuesday evening.
“The Schmidt and Petito family are begging the Laundrie family not to ‘stand back’ but to help find who Brian called the love of his life,” Stafford said. “How does Brian stay in the background when he’s the only person who knows Gabby’s whereabouts?”
Petito and Laundrie had documented their trips, in a white 2012 Ford Transit van, on YouTube under the nicknames Nomadic Statik and Van Life. Petito was last known in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming in late August.
This Ford pickup truck, with Florida license plates, and the laundromat eventually returned to the town of North Port, south of Tampa, but without the woman, police said.
“We currently have no definitive information that a crime has taken place here in North Port,” city police said in a statement on Monday. “That said, the circumstances are strange. The vehicle she was traveling in was located here in North Port. So we are actively gathering local details and all the evidence to help find the answers needed.”
Officers recovered the van on Saturday for forensic testing, North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said. The FBI Field Office in Tampa is also actively assisting Suffolk County Police in New York with the investigation, North Port Police said.
Police know Laundrie is at the family’s home in North Point, but they had not contacted him late Tuesday afternoon, officials said. Laundrie’s family have asked the police to speak to their lawyer if they have any questions.
“Brian refuses to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her,” Stafford said. “Brian also refuses to explain why he left Gabby alone and drove his van to Florida. These are critical questions that need immediate answers.”
Tim fitzsimons and Haylee Barbier contributed.