“All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing,” the law office of Richard B. Stafford, attorney for the Petito and Schmidt families, said in a statement.
“Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing.”
Laundrie’s family made their disclosure earlier Friday, after officers went to the North Port, Florida, home where he lives with his parents, expecting to speak with him. Laundrie had been lying low there since Sept. 1, police believed. Investigators are now searching for him too.
The fiancé has been called a “person of interest” in the case and a release from the North Port Police Department late Friday reiterated he was not currently wanted for a crime.
“We understand the community’s frustration. We are frustrated too,” the release said. “For six days the North Port Police Department and FBI have been pleading with the family to contact investigators regarding Brian’s Fiancé [sic] Gabby Petito.”
Friday was the first time the family had spoken with investigators in detail, the release said.
“It is important to note that while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby’s disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime. We are not currently working a crime investigation. We are now working a multiple missing person investigations.”
“It is important to note that while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby’s disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime.”
Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, said during a televised interview that he learned of Laundrie’s parents’ claim about Brian being missing during a televised interview.
“It’s the first time we’re hearing it,” he told CNN on Friday night. “I am very caught off guard about hearing what we just heard.”
Petito’s mother reported Petito missing Sept. 11 to police in New York’s Suffolk County.
The couple had embarked on a cross-country trip in Petito’s 2012 Ford Transit van at the start of summer. Both of them documented their journey on Instagram, stopping in several national parks out West.
Petito’s family last spoke with her Aug. 25 via Facetime, according to authorities, when she was believed to be in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. A week before that, the couple had traveled through Utah.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz, Paul Best and Sara Ballou contributed to this report.