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Former SLCPD chief gives insight on Petito/Laundrie investigation

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Salt Lake City, Utah  — A 23-year-old Brian Laundrie is missing. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and North Port Police in Florida are now searching for him.

Laundrie is a person of interest as police also search for 22-year-old Gabby Petito, his girlfriend, who was last seen in Ogden, Utah.

Late Friday evening The North Port Police Department wrote, “We understand the community’s frustration, we are frustrated too.”

According to Chris Burbank, in his decades of police service and his time as Salt Lake City’s police chief, he knows these law enforcement officers have been working tirelessly to perfect the skills they are using in this investigation.

“While we should judge them and we should evaluate what they’re doing, we also need to allow them to do what they’re doing,” said Burbank.

He had worked on multiple high-profile cases similar to the Petito-Laundrie investigation, including Utah’s Elizabeth Smart case back in 2002.

“Thousands of people calling and saying ‘I saw him here,’ or ‘I saw them there,’ and you have to sort through all of that because it’s irresponsible to pass up on the one that could be correct,” Burbank said.

According to Burbank, one thing the general public often doesn’t realize is all the details that happen inside of an investigation and how complicated it can be.

“You want to put together a case that actually holds up in court,” Burbank said. “If you jump over some steps, you potentially can lose that or allow someone down the line to plead guilty to a lesser charge than you want.”

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

“He is not wanted for a crime. We are not currently working a crime investigation,” their press release read.

“If you just arrest somebody, there’s going to be a probable cause and they run the risk of potentially being released,” he said.

Both police and the FBI are asking anyone with information on this case, whether they believe it’s significant or not, to call the tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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