Former SLCPD chief gives insight on Petito/Laundrie investigation

SALT LAKE CITY – The Federal Bureau of Investigation and North Port Police in Florida are now looking for Brian Laundrie, 23 years old.

Laundrie is a person of interest as the police are also looking for his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, 22.

Petito was last seen in Ogden, Utah.

READ: Timeline of Gabby Petitos Utah Travel

In a press release released late Friday evening, the North Port Police Department wrote, “We understand the frustration of the community, we are frustrated too.”

In his decades of police service and serving as Salt Lake City Police Chief, Chris Burbank said he knew these police officers worked tirelessly to perfect the skills they use in this investigation.

“We should judge them and evaluate what they do, but we also need to allow them to do what they do,” said Burbank.

READ: The FBI asked for tips from campers near Grand Teton National Park last month

Burbank had worked on several high profile cases similar to the Petito Laundrie investigation, including the Elizabeth Smart case in Utah in 2002.

“Thousands of people call and say ‘I saw him here’ or ‘I saw her there’ and you have to go through all of this because it’s irresponsible to go without the one that might be right,” Burbank said.

One thing that the public is often not aware of is all of the details that go on inside an investigation and how complicated they can be.

“You want to put together a case that will actually stand up in court,” said Burbank. “If you skip a few steps, you can potentially lose them or allow someone to plead guilty of a lesser charge than you would like.”

It’s something the North Port Police wanted to make clear early in this investigation: Laundrie is a person of interest.

“He’s not wanted for a crime. We are not currently working on a criminal investigation, “said their press release.

READ: The FBI is focusing the search for Brian Laundrie on the Florida game reserve

Burbank pointed out that often the police know someone has committed a crime but don’t have the proper evidence.

“If you’re just arresting someone there is a likely cause and they are at risk of possible release,” he said.

Both the police and the FBI are asking anyone with information on the case, whether they think it is relevant or not, to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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