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'Make sure my daughter comes home': Gabby Petito's father makes emotional plea for help

Joe Petito joined North Port Police in asking anyone who may have information, including the family of Brian Laundrie, to come forward.

NORTH PORT, Fla. — UPDATE (Sept. 23, 2021): A federal arrest warrant was issued for Brian Laundrie following a grand jury indictment in connection with the Gabby Petito case. Click here for the latest information.

SAD UPDATE (Sept. 21, 2021): The FBI announced Sunday night that a body had been found matching the description of Gabby Petito. On Tuesday, the coroner confirmed her identity and ruled her death a homicide. Click here for the latest updates.

Previous story below:

Joe Petito, the father of missing North Port woman Gabby Petito, gave an emotional plea on Thursday to anyone who may be able to help bring his daughter home safe.

He joined North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison in the latest update on the 22-year-old woman's disappearance.

Joe Petito began by asking anyone with information on Gabby to come forward. He specifically called on the parents of Gabby's fiancé, Brian Laundrie, for help.

"Whatever you can do to make sure my daughter comes home, I’m asking for that help," Joe Petito said. "There is nothing else that matters to me now."

Gabby Petito, 22, vanished during a cross-country road trip. She'd been traveling in a van with Laundrie, documenting parts of their journey on social media.

Her last known location was Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Then, during the last week in August, she lost communication with family. Loved ones who live on Long Island reported her missing on Sept. 11.

This week, the FBI joined local police in trying to figure out what happened to Petito.                                                 

"Several detectives are working around the clock to piece this complex and far-reaching situation together," City of North Port spokesperson Josh Taylor wrote in an email.                     

Police have said that the lack of information from Laundrie is hindering the investigation, as he has denied requests to speak with investigators.

During Thursday's press conference, Chief Garrison, who called out the Laundrie family lawyer by name on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, expressed his continued frustration with the family's reported lack of cooperation.         

"We share the frustration with the world right now," Garrison said. "Two people went on a trip, one person returned, and that person that returned isn’t providing us any information."

The police chief did say, however, that Laundrie is exercising his constitutional rights as he is not charged with any crimes in this investigation.

As it stands, Brian Laundrie is a person of interest in Gabby Petito's disappearance.

Later on Thursday afternoon, a lawyer for Gabby Petito's family read a letter directed to the parents of Brian Laundrie.

In the letter, Gabby's mother, father, stepmother, and stepfather acknowledged that Christopher and Roberta Laundrie are likely just doing what they can to protect their son, but pleaded with the family to "put yourselves in our shoes."

They added they believe the Laundrie's "know the location of where Brian left Gabby."

"As a parent, how could you let us go through this pain," the letter continued. "If you and your family have any decency left, please tell us where Gabby is located."

North Port police say Laundrie returned to North Port on Sept. 1, which was 10 days before Petito's family reported her missing.

As soon as police got involved, they found Petito's van. Investigators say it was at the North Port home she shared with Laundrie and his parents.

It's still being processed for evidence. 

In addition to the van, police are now looking at phone records and body camera footage from an incident involving Petito and Laundrie that happened in Moab, Utah on Aug. 12.

The FBI has arranged for a national hotline, which has already received hundreds of tips. They're especially interested in knowing where the van has been. The number is 1-800-225-5324.                                     

"The answers will eventually come out. We will help find Gabby and we will help find anyone who may be involved in her disappearance," Chief Todd Garrison said. 

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