Attorney for Brian Laundrie’s family cancels upcoming press conference, reports say

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10:30 p.m. update:
(WJW) – The attorney for Brian Laundrie family has canceled a press conference that was planned for Tuesday, according to reports from FOX 5.

Attorney Steven Bertolino told FOX 5 reporters after speaking with FBI Monday evening that the conference on Long Island was called off.

Authorities say Laundrie is a person of interest in connection with the disappearance of Gabby Petito.

7:20 p.m. update:
(WJW) — The FBI concluded their search at the Laundrie home just after 6 p.m., WFLA reported. At this time, nothing is more is known about today’s investigation.

7:00 p.m. update:
NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — In an interview broadcast Monday on TV’s “Dr. Phil” show, Joseph Petito said 23-year-old Laundrie and his daughter had dated for 2 1/2 years, and Laundrie was “always respectful.” During the interview, which was recorded before his daughter’s body was found, Petito said the couple had taken a previous road trip to California in her car and there were no problems.

“If there were, I would have discouraged going on the trip,” Petito said.

Petito said his family began worrying after several days without hearing from their daughter.

“We called Brian, we called the mom, we called the dad, we called the sister, we called every number that we could find,” Petito said. “No phone calls were picked up, no text messages were returned.”

Petito said he wants Laundrie to be held accountable for whatever part he played in Gabby’s disappearance, along with his family for protecting him.

“I hope they get what’s coming, and that includes his folks,” Petito said. “Because I’ll tell you, right now, they are just as complicit, in my book.”

4:22 p.m. update:
(WJW) — A newly released-to-the-public search warrant shows that the North Port Police Department wanted to look at an external hard drive found at Brian Laundrie’s family home in Florida, FOX 8 sister station WFLA reported.

The warrant was executed on Sept. 15 and the hard drive is reportedly in the North Port Police Department’s evidence locker. 

The warrant gave police the authority to search for the following: “Any and all external storage device(s), commercial software and hardware, computer disks, disk drives, tape drives, disk application programs, data disks, system disk operating systems, electronic mail, system storage devices, tape systems and hard drive and other computer-related operation equipment, in addition to computer photographs, graphic interchange formats and/or photographs, or other visual depictions.”

WFLA reported that police were looking at the hard drive as they believed there could be potential evidence on it that a felony took place.

3:40 p.m. update:
NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — FBI agents and police Monday searched the home of the boyfriend wanted for questioning in the death of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, whose body was discovered over the weekend at a Wyoming national park months after the couple set out on a cross-country road trip.

The FBI gave no details on the search by at least a dozen law enforcement officers, but agents removed several boxes and towed away a car that neighbors said was typically used by 23-year-old Brian Laundrie’s mother. Local media said Laundrie’s parents were seen getting into a police vehicle.

Laundrie and Petito had been living with his parents at the North Port home before the road trip on which she died.

3:20 p.m. update:
(WJW) — The family attorney for the Laundrie family is expected to give a press conference Tuesday, FOX News confirmed. Authorities say Brian Laundrie is a person of interest in connection with the disappearance of Gabby Petito.

The press conference is reportedly set to take place at 1 p.m.

12:20 p.m. update:
(WJW) — A travel blogger is telling her story of spotting Gabby Petito’s white van during a trip to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Jen Bethune said on Fox & Friends Monday said during her trip, she drove past the van and almost stopped to say hello; she said the van had Florida plates, and she was also from Florida.

She said she passed it by because the van was dark and closed up. After her trip, she told Fox & Friends she looked through photos and videos afterward of the disappearance and recognized Petito’s van as the one she’d seen.

She turned her footage in to law enforcement.

10:35 a.m. update:
(WJW) — The FBI in Tampa searched the home of the Laundrie family Monday in connection with the Gabby Petito investigation. Briand Laundrie is a person of interest in the case.

Authorities are not providing any further details.

MOOSE, Wyo. (AP/WJW) — Police Monday do not have plans to conduct “a major search” of the Carlton Reserve, where authorities searched for Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the disappearance of Gabby Petito.

Fox News confirmed the information with the North Port Police Department.

The FBI said the body of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, 22, was found Sunday by law enforcement agents who spent the weekend searching campsites on the eastern border of Grand Teton National Park. She disappeared while on a cross-country trek with Laundrie.

The cause of death has not yet been determined said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Charles Jones. Fox News reports an autopsy has been scheduled for Tuesday.

Specifics on where and how the body was found were not disclosed.

“Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified,” Jones said. “This is an incredibly difficult time for (Petito’s) family and friends.”

Laundrie, 23, was last seen Tuesday by family members in Florida.

Petito’s father, Joseph, posted on social media an image of a broken heart above a picture of his daughter with a message that said, “she touched the world.”

Petito’s brother, TJ Petito, posted a similar photo on Instagram, with the caption: “I don’t even know what to say. I’m at a total loss. My heart is shattered.”

Petito’s uncle, Mike Schmidt, shared a post on Facebook thanking everyone for the outpouring of support during the ordeal.

He went on to say: “Hug your kids tighter tonight. Take an interest in all they do, even if it’s not your thing. Tell them you love them. Meet and get to know their friends. And trust your gut. If you don’t get a good feeling, trust it.”

An attorney who has been acting as a spokesman for Petito’s family asked in a statement that the family be given room to grieve.

Attorney Richard Benson Stafford indicated that the family would make a public statement at a later date, and he thanked officials with the FBI, Grand Teton Search and Rescue and other agencies that participated in the search for Petito.

“The family and I will be forever grateful,” Stafford said in a statement.

An undeveloped camping area on the east side of Grand Teton bordering national forest land will remain closed until further notice while the investigation continues, Jones said.

Jones said investigators were still seeking information from anyone who may have seen Petito or Laundrie around camping sites in the area of Spread Creek, where law enforcement search efforts focused over the weekend.

The pair left in July on a cross-country trek in a converted van to visit national parks in the U.S. West. Laundrie was alone when he drove the van back to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1, police said.

More than 50 law enforcement officers on Sunday started a second day of searching for Laundrie at the more than 24,000-acre (9,712-hectare) Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida, a wildlife area with more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) of trails, as well as campgrounds.

Police in North Port, Florida said in a statement that they were heartbroken to learn of the discovery of the body and pledged to continue searching for answers in the case.

Petito’s family filed a missing persons report Sept. 11 with police in Suffolk County, New York.

Petito’s family had been pleading for the Laundrie family to tell them where their son last saw her. Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met while growing up on Long Island, New York. His parents later moved to North Port, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Sarasota.

The couple’s trek in the Ford Transit began in July from Long Island. They intended to reach Oregon by the end of October, according to their social media accounts. But Petito vanished after her last known contact with family in late August from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, authorities said.

Police video released by the Moab Police Department in Utah showed that an officer pulled the van over on Aug. 12 after it was seen speeding and hitting a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park. The bodycam video showed an emotional Petito, who sat inside a police cruiser while officers also questioned Laundrie.

Moab police ultimately decided not to file any charges and instead separated the couple for the night, with Laundrie checking into a motel and Petito remaining with the converted sleeper van.

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