NORTH PORT — Brian Laundrie’s sister spoke to national media Friday, breaking with the family’s previous avoidance of media concerning Gabby Petito’s disappearance.
It was before Laundrie was known to have left the home of his parents where he'd been staying since returning to North Port without his longtime girlfriend.
Gabby Petito was last heard from in late August; it is unclear Friday night when Laundrie left his parent's house.
On Friday morning, Cassie Laundrie spoke exclusively with ABC News, hoping for Petito’s safe return.
"She's like a sister and my children love her, and all I want is for her to come home safe and found and this to be just a big misunderstanding,” Cassie Laundrie told ABC News.
Authorities contend that Brian Laundrie, a North Port resident, was the last person to see Petito in person.
The North Port Police Department has since named him a “person of interest” in the investigation into her disappearance.
Cassie Laundrie said she didn't understand how Gabby Petito could be missing — saying she was learning about the situation through the media as well.
"I hope she's safe and good and just out there — unaware — and safe," Cassie Laundrie told ABC News.
She said she hasn't talked to her brother since the situation began, citing the likelihood that the attorney is dictating his silence for now.
The pair were traveling across the country over the summer, starting in New York in a van they intended to live out of and post records of their travel online.
Laundrie returned to his home in late August without Petito. As her family began drawing national attention to find Petito, Laundrie and his parents issued a statement through an attorney that they would be “remaining in the background” and offered their moral support for the search.
While Brian Laundrie and his parents have avoided the spotlight recently, he freely shared his views with his online following during the pair’s trip over the summer.
Laundrie uploaded a series of photos from the cross-country trip to his Instagram, occasionally tagging Gabby’s own Instagram.
“It’s a lot easier walking up river holding someone’s hand than walking alone,” he wrote in one post of a canyon ravine.
In between his appreciation of the natural beauty he described, Laundrie occasionally displays an extremely pessimistic view of human activity.
“Zion is proof that mankind can ruin anything even in an effort to preserve it,” his account displays on a photo of Zion National Park in Utah. “Beautiful park just with an unfortunate infestation of human beings.”
“Humans are primates, great apes in fact but I don’t know how great we are as a species,” reads another post from Moab, Utah.
Since the story of Petito’s disappearance gained national attention, Laundrie’s Instagram photos have been flooded with comments inquiring about her and demanding that he cooperate with authorities.