Update: Human remains believed to belong to Gabby Petito were found on Sunday, September 19, in Wyoming.
Police in North Port, Fla., and the FBI are now searching not just for missing woman Gabby Petito but also for Brian Laundrie, Gabby’s fiancé, who returned home from the couple’s cross-country road trip without her on Sept. 1.
But some social media users think Brian is in Puerto Rico, based on geotagging data from the hiking app AllTrails.
Meanwhile, Gabby’s family — who haven’t heard from the 22-year-old since late August, when she was in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming — claims that Brian is “not missing” but “hiding.”
Investigators are “now working a multiple missing person investigation.”
In a statement on Friday, Sept. 17, the North Port Police Department said that it and the FBI were searching for Brian.
“The attorney for the Laundrie family called FBI investigators Friday night, indicating the family would like to talk about the disappearance of their son. The family now claims that they have not seen Brian since Tuesday of this week.”
The police department said that it is frustrated with the development. “For six days, the North Port Police Department and the FBI have been pleading with the family to contact investigators regarding Brian’s fiancée, Gabby Petito. Friday is the first time they have spoken with investigators in detail.”
According to USA Today, Brian invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to speak to authorities, and Brian’s attorney said he advised Brian not to talk.
Both Brian and Gabby had a run-in with police in Moab, Utah, in August, when a witness reported a potential domestic violence situation, though an officer concluded that the incident was a “mental health crisis,” as the newspaper reports.
Brian is “hiding,” not missing, Gabby’s family says.
In the statement, North Port police noted that Brian is a person of interest in Gabby’s disappearance but is not wanted for a crime. “We are not currently working a crime investigation. We are now working a multiple missing person investigation,” the statement reads. “The North Port Police Department is actively looking for Gabby, Brian, and any information surrounding this case. Please continue to utilize 1-800-CALL-FBI.”
The statement described Brian as a white male who is 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, with brown eyes, short brown hair, and trimmed facial hair.
But the Petito family believes Gabby’s fiancé is in hiding. “All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing,” Richard Stafford, the Petito family’s attorney, said in a statement to CNN. “He is hiding. Gabby is missing.”
Social media users speculate Brian may have fled to Puerto Rico.
According to Twitter users, Gabby’s account on the hiking app AllTrails recently showed a geotagged location in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
“Can’t sleep because all I can think about is the [Gabby Petito] case,” one user tweeted on Saturday, Sept. 18. “Now stalking her AllTrails account, assuming it’s really hers. Why is it saying Puerto Rico?”
In a follow-up tweet, that user wrote, “Do we think Brian Laundrie has her phone and fled to Puerto Rico? It’s easy from Florida, but wouldn’t the airport notify anyone?”
Another Twitter user posted a screenshot of direct flights from Tampa, Fla. — a city not far from North Port — to San Juan, Puerto Rico. “Spirit Airlines, American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Jet Blue — all offer flights from Tampa to San Juan, Puerto Rico,” that user pointed out. “Can their passenger manifests for the past few days be checked for Brian Laundrie?”