Gabby Petito’s family has released a statement claiming Brian Laundrie is “hiding” and not “missing” as initial reports suggested.

Brian Laundrie, the tight-lipped boyfriend of missing Long Island native Gabby Petito, is “hiding” and not “missing”, according to Petito’s family.

The lawyer for Petito’s family issued a statement, shared by ABC7, Saturday afternoon claiming the 22-year-old woman was the only one truly missing.

“All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing,” the lawyer’s statement read.

Laundrie has not been seen for days, with his lawyer saying his client’s whereabouts were unknown, Florida police told The New York Post.

The FBI is now looking for both Petito and Laundrie.

“His family has reported that they have not seen Brian as of Tuesday,” Josh Taylor, a public information officer for the North Port Police said.

Police were called to the Laundrie’s North Port Florida home at his family’s request to talk with them Friday evening.

One of the officers entered the home with what appeared to be an evidence bag as protesters surrounding the property yelled “bring him out!”

Petito has not been seen since August 30, when she was traversing the country with Laundrie.

Laundrie returned to Florida in her van alone, and has not been forthcoming to cops or the Petito family about the case.

Why Laundrie isn’t talking

Critics have slammed Laundrie for staying mum in the wake of her puzzling disappearance — but legal experts say it may be the right call.

“I am never confident my client had nothing to do with anything,” lawyer Ron Kuby said. “I don’t believe my clients when they say they’re guilty. I don’t believe my clients when they say they’re innocent. The best legal advice is to say nothing.”

Laundrie returned to Florida in the couple’s van without Petito on September 1. He didn’t report her missing and refused to speak to her family or the police.

He has maintained that silence even as Petito’s distraught parents have publicly pleaded with him to co-operate with authorities.

Even though there are several scenarios that would potentially absolve Laundrie of foul play, Kuby said he’d still be cautious about letting him open his mouth.

She could have accidentally fallen to her death and Laundrie feared he’d be blamed for it. Or perhaps Petito disappeared to create a social media frenzy that would enhance her blogger profile, and he was sworn to secrecy.

“These are possibilities consistent with innocence, but no one ever talked themselves out of trouble in talking to the police,” he said.

He conceded that this guidance can be a PR nightmare, but that public condemnation is preferable to disclosing information that gets a suspect convicted.

“From a moral standpoint, from an ethical standpoint, from a duty to treat others in a kind way, it’s a gross violation of society norms,” Kuby said of Laundrie’s silence. “This is of course is why people hate lawyers.”

Former Manhattan prosecutor-turned-defence lawyer Mark Bederow said there are a lot of good reasons for Laundrie not to talk — especially if he’s “guilty of something horrible.”

Bederow said Laundrie’s lawyer has to balance bad optics with the risk of self-incrimination.

“There’s no question that his behaviour is extraordinarily suspicious and his decision now to stand quiet, although permissible under the law, looks terrible,” added Bederow. “But he’s doing nothing unlawful or legally inappropriate and it may be in his best interest.”

Jeffrey Lichtman, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s lawyer, said he would only let his client open his mouth if he were 100 per cent certain he was innocent.

“If you have an alibi, and you know your client didn’t do it, of course, you’re going to let them talk because you want them to drop him as a target,” he said. But if you’re not sure, even though “the guy looks wildly guilty right now,” it’s safer to stay quiet, he said.

— With The New York Post

Source