Police Resume Search for Brian Laundrie, the Person of Interest in Gabby Petito Case
By Elizabeth Fry | Fox News 13
FBI believes remains of Gabby Petito have been found
Gabby Petito, the missing Florida woman whose case captivated the nation, has apparently been found dead near Grand Teton National Park, the FBI says. But there’s still no sign of her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, who returned to Florida without her.
“At this time, we currently believe we have exhausted all avenues in searching of the grounds there. Law enforcement agencies continue to search for Brian Laundrie,” according to a police statement. “The North Port Police Department currently has no plans to conduct a major search of the Carlton Reserve today. All media interviews from our department are on hold until further notice.”
However, the only person who could have some insight as to what happened is now missing as well. Authorities were searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County all weekend. They said his family believed he went to the 25,000-acre park in Venice. On Friday, his parents revealed they hadn’t spoken since Tuesday and reported him missing.
Crews returned to the site Sunday morning. But just before 6 p.m., police said the search had concluded for the day with “nothing to report.” Later Sunday evening, police closed off the area around the Laundrie home, moving media and onlookers back away from the house.
Up until Friday, the Laundrie family had been silent, asking to remain in the background of the investigation – that is, until they contacted investigators to file a missing person’s report on Brian.
Investigators spent two hours at the Laundrie home Friday collecting things they say may help them find Brian and hopefully get answers.
Saturday, 50 law enforcement officers from five agencies, including the North Port Police Department and the FBI, began searching the Carlton Reserve.
An attorney for the Petito family says Brian is not missing but rather on the run, adding that the Laundrie family’s request to have the North Port police look for their son but not for Gabby is “reprehensible and hypocritical.”
The Laundrie family told investigators he left with a backpack, telling them he was coming out to the reserve. In new details from the Laundrie family’s attorney, they said his parents actually went looking for Brian on Wednesday.
They said they found his car parked in the reserve, but they left it so he could drive home. However, when he didn’t return Thursday morning, the parents say they went to retrieve the car themselves. It’s unclear what information was on the note.
“These are people that were living off the grid in different areas, I don’t know how frequently he came out here and did day long hikes,” said Josh Taylor, the North Port police spokesperson. “You could be out here for months if you wanted.”
Aerial view of search for Brian Laundrie
SkyFOX over Brian Laundrie search at Carlton Reserve wilderness area in Florida
Gabby’s family reported her missing on September 11 after not hearing from her since August 25.
Brian returned to the North Port home the couple shared with his parents on September 1 in the camper van they were traveling in, without Gabby.
Last week, police said there was an incident at the Laundrie family home involving Gabby’s father just one day before she was reported missing by her family.
FBI press conference: Body found during search for Gabby Petito
The FBI provides an update after a body matching the description of Gabby Petito was found in Grand Teton National Park while searching for the missing woman on Sunday.
The Laundrie family put out a statement Sunday night, saying the news about Gabby is “heartbreaking,” adding that they’re praying for her and her family.
North Port investigators said they found it hard to imagine that anyone could hide out there for days without being detected due to the difficult conditions.
Investigators are asking the public for help in locating Laundrie. They say he is a white male, 5-foot-8 and weighing 160 pounds. He has brown eyes, very short brown hair, trimmed facial hair, and was last seen wearing a hiking bag with a waist strap.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-Call-FBI.