Search for Gabby Petito: North Port police ‘very concerned’ for health, well-being of missing 22-year-old

Sarasota County

Sept. 15 update: Police have now named Gabby Petito’s fiancé a ‘person of interest’ in her disappearance.

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) – Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old from North Port, vanished recently during a cross-country road trip she was on with the man she referred to on social media as her fiancé.

North Port police found the white van the couple was traveling in over the weekend. It was outside the couple’s home, a short distance away from their headquarters. Police say they lived there with the fiancé’s parents.

“All of a sudden, the person she was traveling with is back here and she is not here. That person is unwilling to talk with us to this point. All of that is very very concerning,” North Port PD spokesperson Joshua Taylor said.

According to North Port police, the fiancé’s family deferred them to their family lawyer who is based out of New York. Days into their investigation, they still haven’t had a chance to talk with Petito’s other half, adding an extra layer of challenge to an already complex case.

“Right now, we are not even sure that we have a crime. What we have is a missing person. That is obviously minute by minute and it could evolve at any time,” Taylor explained. “It has not been helpful that we have not been able to talk with him.”

Authorities believe the 22-year-old was last known to be in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Several detectives are looking into leads, digital forensics, finances and anything that could give them some answers as to where Petito could be.

“There is enough information that we have that we are very concerned for her health and well-being,” Taylor said.

8 On Your Side tried speaking with the fiancé’s family at their North Port home, but they didn’t come to the door. The family’s attorney sent 8 On Your Side the following statement:

“This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the [fiancé’s] family. It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the [fiancé’s] family it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family. On the advice of counsel the [fiancés] family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.”

Investigators with North Port PD hope they get the information needed to help move the case forward.

“I think it’s just important to know that we are doing everything we can to get answers for her family, and potentially bring her home safe,” said the police spokesperson.

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