Gabby Petito Case Now Officially a Criminal Investigation: Police

Florida police said for the first time Tuesday that the Gabby Petito case is now officially a “criminal investigation” as authorities continue to search for her missing fiancé, Brian Laundrie. 

“This is an FBI-led criminal investigation and North Port Police are assisting our federal partner in any way we can to bring this investigation to a close,” Florida’s North Port Police Department spokesman Josh Taylor said in a statement. 

Previously, the North Port Police Department was the lead investigating law enforcement agency in the case that has gripped the nation. 

On Monday, the FBI raided the North Port home where Laundrie and Petito lived with Laundrie’s parents after investigators announced Sunday that a body believed to be Petito’s was discovered at a campsite in Wyoming’s Bridger–Teton National Forest. 

An autopsy will be performed on the human remains on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, Taylor said Tuesday that authorities will continue to search Sarasota County’s Carlton Reserve for Laundrie. His parents have told police that the 23-year-old North Port, Florida man went for a hike in the nature preserve a week ago and never returned. 

The 25,000-acre reserve, Taylor said, “is a vast and unforgiving location at times.”

Petito, 22, was reported missing by her family in New York on September 11, 10 days after Laundrie returned home from a cross-country road trip out West in the van the couple had been driving in — but without Petito. 

Laundrie, who was named as a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, quickly retained a lawyer and refused to speak to authorities about the case. 

He was reported missing by his family on Friday.

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