Golf-cart riding protesters swarmed the Florida home where the fiancé of a missing woman has been hiding out and implored him to break his silence with chants of ‘Where’s Gabby?’ – hours after the girl’s distraught dad said he feared she is dead.
The group demanded Brian Laundrie, 23, cooperate with the police investigation into the disappearance of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, who has not been heard from since Aug. 30 while the couple was on a cross-country trip.
Petito’s friend – Nicole Kalanich – spoke exclusively with DailyMail.com as locals Jason and Dena Sternquist drove a golf cart Thursday outside the single-story North Port home where Laundrie has been holed up with his parents.
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.
Scroll down to watch interview with Jason and Dena Sternquist.
Protestors drive outside the Laundries’ 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?’
Above is the Laundrie family home in North Port, Florida, where Brian returned in the couple’s van without Gabby after their trip
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.’
The Sternquists arrived outside the Laundries’ home just hours after Gabby’s dad – Joe Petito – made an emotional appeal at a press conference to help him get his daughter back.
In an interview with HLN, Joe Petito said his gut tells him ‘that something bad happened.’
‘I am never, I’m never going to be able to hold my baby girl again,’ he said. ‘But my head tells me, that if I focus on that, I’m not gonna be able to do the job that needs to be done.
‘That her fiancé should be doing. He should be leading this charge, and he’s not.’
“My gut tells me that something bad happened and I am never, I’m never going to be able to hold my baby girl again.” Gabby Petito’s dad tells HLN “But my head tells me, that if I focus on that, I’m not gonna be able to do the job that needs to be done.” pic.twitter.com/jzRZWCid9D
— HLN (@HLNTV) September 17, 2021
In an interview with HLN, Joe Petito – Gabby’s dad – said his gut is telling him that ‘something bad happened’ but his head is telling him that he needs to stay focused on the job that needs to be done, which is finding his daughter and bringing her home safe
A tearful Petito is seen in the back of the police car on August 12. Laundrie admits he ‘pushed her’ during a physical altercation but cops determined Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’
Timeline of events of this saga starting on July 2 when they left New York for the cross-country trip and most recently on September 11, when Petito’s mom calls police in Suffolk County to report her daughter missing. The same day, the couple’s van was impounded by Florida police after Laundrie returned home without Petito
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.’
Gabby’s dad struggled to contain his emotions as he made a desperate appeal to help find his daughter: ‘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.’
Laundrie has retained a lawyer, who has urged him not speak to anyone or answer questions.
Brian’s sister Cassie Laundrie broke the family’s silence in an interview with ABC News, where she said Gabby is like ‘a sister’ to her and emphasized that her ‘children love her’.
She said she hasn’t been able to get in contact with her brother recently either.
‘All I want is for her to come home safe and sound and this to be just a big misunderstanding,’ Cassie said.
But her brother has been named a person of interest and was in a physical confrontation with Gabby in Moab, Utah, 13 days before she was last seen.
The aftermath was recorded on responding officers’ bodycams and released to the media this week.
The footage shows an emotional Petito with tears streaming down her face telling officers she ‘was trying to get him to stop telling me to calm down’ and said they ‘have been fighting all morning.’
In the video clip, Gabby said she suffers from OCD and anxiety and she and Laundrie were stressed because of the YouTube blog they were working on to document the cross-country trip.
Laundrie was seen with scratches on his face and arm, which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone’.
He later said she was angry with him because of his dirty feet. When an officer asked Petito if her boyfriend hit her, she replied, ‘I guess,’ and made a grabbing motion on her chin.
A tearful Petito tells cops she has OCD and anxiety and that she was stressed because she was trying to ‘build a blog’
Emotional new police bodycam footage has revealed the moment Utah cops asked missing ‘van-life’ woman Gabby Petito why she slapped her boyfriend Brian Laundrie in a dramatic incident 13 days before she disappeared on their cross-country trip
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 admitted that he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation, but the cops determined Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’ and said they separated the couple for the night.
Six days later in the same location, a store worker Kylen Schulte, 24, and her wife Crystal Turner, 38, were found shot to death and partially undressed where they had been camping.
Police in Utah are investigating a potential link between Petito’s disappearance and the double murder.
Around the time Schulte and Turner were killed in Utah, police across the state line in San Miguel County, Colorado warned campers to be on the lookout after they found more than 30 weapons at a man’s campsite in Telluride, just over two hours away from Moab.
Police said his whereabouts were unknown and it is unclear if police eventually arrested him.
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
Police in Utah are investigating a potential link between Petito’s disappearance and the murder of a woman who worked at the Moab co-op where Petito and fiancé Brian Laundrie had an explosive fight. Around the time Schulte and Turner were killed in Utah, police across the state line in San Miguel County, Colorado warned campers after they found more than 30 weapons at a man’s campsite in Telluride
The pair was found dead in a nearby creek, partially undressed and with multiple gunshot wounds to the bodies
The arsenal found in Telluride included knives, hatchets, a cross-bow and several swords. ‘In light of the past week’s double homicide of campers outside Moab, l want to caution people to be aware of their surroundings,’ the sheriff office said at the time. Police did not release the identity of the man citing ‘pre-trial publicity’
Meanwhile, Laundrie returned to Florida without Gabby on September 1 – ten days before her mother Nichole Schmidt raised the alarm with police in Suffolk County, New York, where she lives – after not hearing from her in 13 days.
Later the same day – September 11 – the couple’s van was impounded by police in Florida.
Laundrie’s 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, but North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said his department knows where he is, and a silver Ford Mustang that is believed to be what he drives was parked outside.
The case is still being treated as a missing person’s enquiry, and so far there’s no evidence of criminality so police can’t bring Brian in for questioning, Garrison said during Thursday’s press conference.
‘Two people went on a trip, one person returned. And that person that returned isn’t providing us any information,’ said the chief, adding it was Laundrie’s ‘constitutional right’ not to speak with law enforcement.
Garrison said Laundrie’s lawyer had handed over some property that they requested from him.
‘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.’
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’
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’ Petito and Laundrie, two weeks before she was last seen
Police in Moab, Utah, which was where the couple got into the physical altercation, released the police report on Wednesday.
The report says officers received reports of a ‘possible domestic violence’ incident involving the couple near the Moonflower Community Co-op in Moab on August 12 around 4:30pm.
It documented that the couple admitted they had been going through ‘issues’ over the last couple days.
‘Right now, we are investigating a missing person case,’ Moab Chief Garrison said on Wednesday.