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Police face criticism over handling of Gabby Petito case after boyfriend Brian Laundrie also goes missing

A body has now been found in Wyoming that is believed to be that of missing Gabby Petito.

Holly Bancroft
Monday 20 September 2021 10:44 BST
FBI holds press conference on Gabby Petito after finding human remains
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Police have been criticised for failing to interrogate Gabby Petito’s boyfriend after the Youtuber was reported missing.

A body has now been found in Wyoming that is believed to be that of missing Gabby Petito, US officials said on Sunday.

Her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who had refused to co-operate with any police investigations, is now also missing.

Brian Laundrie allegedly showed up at his parents’ home in Florida without Gabby Petito on September 1.

He had been travelling with her since July in a converted van on a cross-country trek to visit America’s national parks.

Ms Petito’s family filed a missing persons report on September 11 with police in Suffolk County, New York, and Mr Laundrie, 23, has been identified as a person of interest in the case.

He was last seen on Tuesday by family members in Florida. Investigators had asked for days for Mr Laundrie and his attorney to co-operate with the search, only to learn during a visit to his home on Friday that his parents hadn’t seen him for three days.

The police are now facing questions over why they did not obtain a search warrant for Mr Laundrie.

Pat Diaz, a former Miami-Dade homicide detective, told Fox News: “Why would you [try to] get consent from the guy, and now get a search warrant?

“You can get a search warrant for everything in that house, including his laptop.”

Mr Diaz said that an examination of Laundrie’s electronics on the day Gabby Petito went missing could have given the police some clues about where she was. Mr Diaz said that the police wouldn’t necessarily have needed to suspect a crime in order to get a search warrant in a missing person’s case.

A spokesperson for North Port Police department said that they were limited in what they could do.

Spokesperson Josh Taylor said: “The department has no authority to execute a possible federal search warrant on our own. I don’t see how anyone without all the facts in this case can come up with a reasonable conclusion and opinion on the matter.”

He added: “There is no information that a crime took place here in North Port. That is our jurisdiction.”

Attorney for Ms Petito’s parents, Richard Stafford said on Friday: “All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing.”

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