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North Port neighbors in shock as boyfriend of missing woman continues his silence

Attorney for boyfriend of missing North Port woman speaks out.
Attorney for boyfriend of missing North Port woman speaks out.(WWSB)
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 9:59 PM EDT
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NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - Now that the boyfriend of Gabby Petito has been named a person of interest in her disappearance, people in his North Port neighborhood are expressing shock and wanting answers.

Brian Laundrie’s neighbors say they want to know what happened during the couple’s monthslong road trip. Laundrie returned to North Port alone Sept. 1 after Gabrielle Petito, a 22-year-old Long Island, New York native, disappeared last month in Wyoming. The couple had been documenting their trip with frequent posts on social media when the posts abruptly stopped Aug. 25.

Petito was last believed to have been in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Her family says she stopped communicating with them in late August. They filed a missing person report. The North Port Police Department confirmed Wednesday they are now the lead agency in the case, in cooperation with the FBI.

Laundrie is not cooperating with police. Neighbors say they’re shocked and concerned. They say they want some answers.

“He needs to come out and speak his mind and tell the truth unless he’s hiding something,” said Cynthia Summerson. “And I believe he’s hiding the entire truth. I’m sorry, that’s what I believe.”

“You hear about it on the news but you don’t expect it to happen where you are,” said Matthew and Alyssa Ramirez, North Port residents who have just moved from Suffolk County, New York. “You never expect it to happen in your hometown, you never expect it to follow you like this, this story is just crazy to us.”

North Port Police will be holding a press conference at noon Thursday. A relative of Petito will be in attendance as well as a representative from the FBI.

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