What to Know
- Gabby Petito's family is expected to hold a news conference Tuesday on Long Island
- It's unclear what they will discuss but their statement comes as the FBI took over the search for Petito's fiance Brian Laundrie, who is a person of interest, from Florida law enforcement
- Petito’s death has been classified as homicide, meaning she was killed by another person, but medical examiners in Wyoming haven’t disclosed how she died pending further autopsy results
The family of a 22-year-old woman whose death on a cross-country trip has sparked a manhunt for her fiancé is expected to address the public on Tuesday.
The Petito and Schmidt family and their lawyer will conduct a news conference on Long Island at 1 p.m., according to attorney Richard Stafford. It's unclear what they will discuss but their statement comes as the FBI took over the search for Gabby Petito's fiance Brian Laundrie from Florida law enforcement and two days after mourners paid their respects for the Blue Point native.
Her parents have been vocal since they reported Petito missing on Sept. 11 after she didn’t respond to calls and texts for several days while she and Laundrie visited parks in the West. Petito's stepfather James Schmidt and father Joseph Petito shared a few words about their beloved daughter on Sunday at her memorial.
"When you leave here today, be inspired by what she brought to the table because the entire planet knows this woman's name now. And she's inspired a lot of women and a lot of men to do what's best for them first," Joseph Petito said.
Schmidt said he wanted the world to live by Gabby's example and "To enjoy every moment of this beautiful world that she did. Love and give love to all, like she did."
"It's okay to mourn for Gabby, and it's okay to feel sorrow and pain. But we want to celebrate her and how she lived her life," he added.
Despite the memorial, Gabby's family has yet to be reunited with her after her body was discovered in a remote area in northwestern Wyoming. Her death has been classified as homicide, meaning she was killed by another person, but medical examiners in Wyoming haven’t disclosed how she died pending further autopsy results.
According to North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor, the search for Laundrie this week will be "scaled down and targeted" based on information investigators have.
Laundrie is a person of interest in Petito's case but he has not been charged with crimes relating to her disappearance or death, but federal officials in Wyoming last week charged Laundrie with unauthorized use of a debit card, alleging he used a Capital One Bank card and someone’s personal identification number to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges worth more than $1,000 during the period in which Petito went missing. They did not say who the card belonged to.
Officials urged anyone with knowledge of Laundrie’s role in Petito’s death or his whereabouts to contact the FBI. With online sleuths and theories multiplying by the day, the FBI and police have been deluged with tips about possible Laundrie sightings.