After Brian Petito went missing, he was found dead near where the Petit family lived in Minnesota, just days after his homeless parents had introduced him to the family, according to the report. Now, searchers are trying to determine if he killed himself or was murdered. (Gaby Petito is seen in the screenshot above.)
But for some concerned family members in Florida, Brian Petito looked suspiciously like another missing man, and they’re seeking to get answers.
The man’s selfie has led the parents of two of Gabby Petito’s closest friends to theorize that Petito might have killed himself, with the family posting to social media that they are convinced he was murdered and that a lot of information about the search for Petito is “unexplained.”
Gabrielle Petito told NBC News that she woke up to a flurry of calls Tuesday, when Brian Petito had not checked in to his job at a Menards store in Wilton Manors, Florida. Later that day, several more calls from family members concerned about his disappearance surfaced. Gabby Petito’s former co-workers at the store had told her they had seen Brian on the day he was supposed to arrive, and that he had called Gabby a day later to say he would be tardy because he was camping out to stay warm.
Four days later, Brian Petito’s parents had gone to Minneapolis, leaving the couple’s four sons behind. Family members there had noticed the boy’s resemblance to Brian Petito and told them that at least two other friends of Gabby Petito’s had told them they’d seen the missing boy with Brian in Minneapolis.
The missing man’s family said that the city on the shore of Lake Minnetonka is an odd place to live for people who are homeless.
“At first we thought he might have taken his own life because he had no one to stay with and was so far away from his friends back in Florida,” Gabrielle Petito said. “But now we know that he’s living in Minnesota. We know that he is dead and we know that there is no way he could have just died out there alone, because there’s never been anything to believe that.”
She said that after learning about her son’s story, she and her husband, Jove, couldn’t help but worry about the way in which Brian Petito may have been introduced to the Petit family. Brian and Jove were camping together with four of their sons in Minnesota when they did so on a recent Saturday night and the Petit family was celebrating the 10th birthday of their oldest daughter. Jove and his wife went back to their tent to grab something they’d brought out, but for some reason Jove never came back. The family searched for Jove all night and spent a sleepless night looking for him before calling the cops at around 4 a.m.
After they gathered some evidence and collected items from his tent, the family called the police who picked up Jove and transferred him to a van. According to the police report, Jove said that he slept in his tent “with some animal guts” in the small, trash-filled area and woke up after he heard gurgling noises, according to WBBH 7 in Fort Myers, Florida. They picked up Brian Petito that night in the van, which belonged to the Petit family, and he admitted to hearing the gurgling noises.
Brian Petito said he and Jove had been staying at a homeless shelter in Minneapolis when he was introduced to the Petit family.
But according to a friend of the Petit family, the homeless shelter isn’t the same as the extended Minnesota family they described.
“The guy’s deceased,” Jim Leggette told WBBH 7. “And I haven’t talked to him.”