Gov. DeSantis spoke to Gabby Petito’s father before FBI’s press conference

Florida

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TAMPA (WFLA) –  Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke with the father of Gabby Petito on Wednesday afternoon prior to an FBI press conference where officials announced the discovery of partial human remains in the Carlton Reserve near personal items that belong to Petito’s fiancé Brian Laundrie.

The governor previously said he had directed all state agencies to continue to assist authorities in locating Laundrie and is prepared to do more.

“I was able to speak to Gabby Petito’s father yesterday — just checking up, to see how he’s doing and seeing if there’s anything we can do to help. Of course, state law enforcement has been helping with the search from the beginning. We’re not obviously driving the train because you have the local and you have the FBI for the interstate. But he feels really strongly that there’s more that can be done to protect people like Gabby, who were victims of domestic violence. And I agree with him. I think there’s times when we see people who probably should have been held accountable and then it builds and they do more, and then ultimately it ends to something this tragic. And so I know he’s working hard on stuff, I told them, you know, we raise money for different things. … We raised the money for fallen officers’ families in Florida. We’re going to probably do some other stuff with my wife eventually, for breast cancer. But I told him, in our charitable endeavors, we want to be helpful. So I think we’re going to be able to do it. He doesn’t have any more information than what’s been reported, at least when I talked to him. So we’ll see what ends up happening, but he’s a strong fella. I mean, it’s probably the worst blow you can receive, is to lose a child. And she was just starting out in life. Had a great future ahead of her, very pretty young lady who everyone seemed to like. And so it’s really, really sad, but it also a lot of us, at least me, were angry that something like this would have happened and we do want to get all the answers as soon as possible. And I know that would make him feel a lot better,” DeSantis said at a Clearwater press conference on Thursday.

The FBI announced Wednesday afternoon that Laundrie is a person of interest in the murder of Petito.

“As you’re aware, the FBI and the North Port Police Department and our state and local law enforcement partners have been searching the area of the Carlton Reserve for Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito,” FBI Tampa Division Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson said.

Last month, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie, who was previously named a person of interest in the homicide investigation of Petito.

Laundrie was reported missing by his family on Sept. 17, sparking a massive search. According to North Port police, family members said they last saw Laundrie on Sept. 13.

Petito’s death was ruled a homicide, by strangulation, by the Teton County coroner’s office.

Laundrie is currently only charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Petito.

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