Protesters outside Gabby Petito’s fiancé’s Florida home and chanted ‘Where’s Gabby?’ while demanding the lawyered-up traveling partner cooperate with the investigation into the van-life girl’s disappearance.
Petito’s friend – Nicole Kalanich – spoke exclusively with DailyMail.com as locals Jason and Dena Sternquist arrived on a golf cart late Thursday outside the single-story North Port home owned by Laundrie’s parents where he has been hiding out.
Placards on their vehicle read, ‘Where is Gabby’, ‘Bring Gabby Home’, Speak Up!’ and ‘North Port Loves Gabby’.
‘Have the guts’ to say where she is, Kalanich told DailyMail.com.
Laundrie, 23, and his family, who he lives with in the North Port, Florida home, has retained a lawyer and has not spoken to anyone since her disappearance.
The Sternquists arrived just hours after Gabby’s dad, Joe Petito, made an emotional appeal at a police press conference in North Port for the Laundries to help him get his 22-year-old daughter back.
Protesters gathered on Thursday outside Gabby Petito’s fiancé’s Florida home in North Port
Gabby set out on a cross-country trip July 2 with boyfriend/fiancé Brian Laundrie in the couple’s 2012 Ford Transit van. Brian posted this photo of the couple on Instagram on July 16 at Zion National Park
A tearful Petito is seen in the back of the police car. Laundrie admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation and cops determine Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’
Jason Sternquist, 48, said angrily, ‘This is a horrible tragedy. For whatever reasons this guy wants to lock himself in this house and not participate in finding this beautiful, young lady. It’s heartbreaking, it’s sad it’s disrespectful, horrible, it’s everything.
‘I do not know how the mom and dad could sit in that house and support their son and not, well, at least say this is the last time we’ve seen Gabby. Or this is where Brian left Gabby. We need information. Gabby needs to be found. Whether it’s in Florida, Utah, Wyoming, anywhere. We need to know where Gabby is.’
He continued: ‘Can you imagine, your daughter is dating some guy, they go on a road trip and that’s it. That’s how you lose your daughter. That’s how you never see your daughter again. Because she went on a road trip with the wrong person. Can you imagine it. That’s horrible. That’s devastating.
‘I don’t understand how the people that live in this block aren’t out here yelling at these people, telling them, hey, tell your kid to work with these people (the police). Bring peace to this woman’s family.
‘If it was me, I can’t think of anybody that would stop me from going in that house, grabbing that kid and finding out the information.’
His realtor wife Dena, 38, said: ‘We feel like we should be doing something. I feel like North Point should come together as a community and at least support Gabby. It is heart breaking. I have three little girls, if this was my daughter I would go crazy.’
Protestors drive outside Laundrie’s home demanding that he cooperate with police
Protestors in golf carts drove by the North Port home with carried signs that ‘TRUTH ALWAYS COMES OUT! #Justiceforgabby,’ ‘North Port Loves Gabby’ and ‘WOULD SHE BRING YOU HOME?’
Brian Laundrie’s parents Christopher and Roberta refused to let police speak with their son. He returned to their home on North Port,Florida on September 1
Above is the Laundrie family home in North Port, Florida, where Brian Laundrie returned in the couple’s van without Gabby after their trip
Hours earlier Gabby’s dad struggled to contain his emotions as he made a desperate appeal to help find his daughter during a press conference about two miles away from the Laundries’ home.
‘What I need from everybody here is help,’ he said.
‘The goal is to bring Gabby home safe. I am asking for help from everyone here. I am asking for help from everyone at home.’
His wife and Gabby’s stepmom Tara fought back tears as she stood beside him.
‘I am asking for help from the parents of Brian,’ he continued. ‘And I am asking for help from the family members and friends of the Laundrie family as well.
‘Whatever you can do to make sure my daughter comes home, I’m asking for that help. There is nothing else that matters to me now.’
Turning to point at a picture of Gabby behind him, he said: ‘This, this girl right here, this is what matters. That is it. Anything else becomes second to this.’
Police in Utah have been investigating a potential link between Petito’s disappearance and the murder of a woman who worked at the Moab co-op where Petito and Laundrie had an explosive fight.
A tearful Petito tells cops she has OCD and anxiety and that she was stressed because she was trying to ‘build a blog’
When an officer asks Petito if her boyfriend hit her, she replies ‘I guess’ and gestures to her chin. Petito admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation
Gabby’s family lashed out at the Laundries in a statement Tuesday. ‘Brian is refusing to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her. Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers’
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone’
Laundrie shows the officers his hands during the incident on August 12 – two weeks before his girlfriend vanished
The statement from Brian Laundrie’s attorney:
‘Many people are wondering why Mr. Laundrie would not make a statement or speak with law enforcement in the face of Ms. Petito’s absence.
‘In my experience, intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focus their attention on in cases like this and the warning that ‘any statement made will be used against you’ is true, regardless of whether my client had anything to do with Ms. Petito’s disappearance.
‘As such, on the advice of counsel Mr. Laundrie is not speaking on the matter.
‘I have been informed that the North Port, Florida police have named Brian Laundrie as a ‘person of interest’ in this matter.
‘This formality has not really changed the circumstances of Mr. Laundrie being the focus of attention of law enforcement and Mr. Laundrie will continue to remain silent on the advice of counsel.’
Six days after Petito and Laundrie had a physical altercation at Moonflower Community Cooperative, store worker Kylen Schulte, 24, and her wife Crystal Turner, 38, were found dead and partially undressed where they had been camping.
Laundrie returned to Florida without Gabby on September 1 – some 10 days before her mother Nichole Schmidt raised the alarm with police in Suffolk County, New York, where she lives.
Laundries parents Christopher, 62, and Roberta, 55, have been spotted at their home on the quiet residential street in North Port. However, there has been no sighting of Brian, and North Port Police chief Todd Garrison said his department does know where he is.
But a silver Ford Mustang that is believed to be what he drives was parked outside.
‘When I heard that Gabby was missing I broke down on my knees and prayed to God,’ pal Nicole, 19, told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.
‘And now, honestly, I feel like knocking on Brian’s door and demanding to know what has happened. I want him to tell me where she is – I’m desperate to know.
‘I don’t know what happened to her. But I hope Brian has the guts to reveal where Gabby is.’
She was first reported missing on Saturday after her family hadn’t heard from her in 13 days.
She had been traveling with Laundrie since July – and last spoke to relatives on August 25. Her last known location was Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Timeline of events of this saga
Laundrie shows cops his arms which they say note scratches on, before officers determine Petito was the ‘primary aggressor’
Nicole worked at the supermarket with them, saying they left several months before she herself quit in August for a job in a smart café in Venice, Florida.
Gabby, who is believed to have had training as a nutritionist, started as cashier and then worked in the pharmacy. Brian worked in groceries before moving to the bakery, Nicole said.
‘The last time I really communicated with Gabby was in June,’ Nicole told DailyMail.com.
‘It was strange. She suddenly stopped responding to me, and I never heard from her again. We had talked about going longboarding together in October, and she seemed really keen. Then she just went quiet.
‘Between them, I only saw good things. They did appear very happy together.’
Police on Tuesday revealed they responded to an ‘incident’ involving 22-year-old ‘van-life woman’ Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, two weeks before she was last seen