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FBI agents execute search warrant at Florida home of Gabby Petito's fiancé, Brian Laundrie

Body matching Petito's description found Sunday in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park
FBI search Brian Laundrie's home on Sept. 20, 2021
Posted at 10:37 AM, Sep 20, 2021

NORTH PORT, Fla. — The FBI on Monday surrounded the Southwest Florida home of Gabby Petito's fiancé, Brian Laundrie, and executed a search warrant.

In a tweet, the agency said it's "executing a court-authorized search warrant today at the Laundrie residence in North Port, FL relevant to the Gabrielle 'Gabby' Petito investigation."

WPTV obtained a copy of the search warrant, which states police needed to look through an external hard drive found inside a silver Ford Mustang at Laundrie's home, as well as text messages where Petito indicated growing tensions with Laundrie in conversations with her mother.

"During these conversations there appeared to be more and more tension between [Petito] and Laundrie," the warrant stated.

The warrant added that investigators want to look through all external storage devices, hard drives, and disks in the home, along with passwords, encryption codes, and data security devices.

At one point on Monday, agents focused their search on a shed in the backyard of the home. They went inside, took a lot of pictures, and also examined the area around the shed.

Later on, police were seen carrying large evidence bags and boxes out of the home. The Mustang was towed out of the driveway just before 3 p.m.

The FBI said Sunday it had found a body matching the description of Petito in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.

Charles Jones with the FBI's field office in Denver confirmed the body recovered matched Petito's description, though a full forensic identification is pending. Officials have not yet determined a cause of death.

The Teton County Coroner's Office told WPTV an autopsy will take place on Tuesday and the results may take up to two weeks to be released.

Jones said Petito's family had been notified and said he extended his "heartfelt condolences" to the family. Petito's father, who lives in Vero Beach, tweeted Sunday evening that his daughter "touched the world."

North Port police said Monday morning they have no plans to conduct a major search of the Carlton Reserve, which is the area where they have been looking for Laundrie. Authorities added they currently believe they have exhausted all avenues in searching the reserve. Law enforcement agencies continue to search for Laundrie.

Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11. She disappeared while traveling on a months-long cross-country trip with Laundrie.

On Aug. 12, police encountered the couple after bystanders witnessed them fighting at a convenience store in Moab, Utah. Body camera footage from the incident showed that Petito was emotional and told officers she and her fiancé had been "fighting all morning."

Laundrie also told officers the two had been fighting. There were scratches visible on his face, which he said resulted from a physical scuffle with Petito.

Police declined to file charges in the incident, classifying it only as a "mental health crisis" when the couple agreed to spend the night in separate places. Police said Petito stayed in the van while Laundrie got a hotel room.

Petito's family said they last spoke with her in late August, at which point Petito told them she was in Grand Teton National Park.

According to the search warrant executed Monday, Petito's mother received an "odd text" from her daughter.

"The text message read, 'Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.' The reference to 'Stan,' was regarding her grandmother, but per the mother, she never calls him 'Stan.' The mother was concerned that something was wrong with her daughter," the warrant stated. "This was the last communication anyone had with [Petito]. Her cell phone was no longer operational, and she stopped posting anything on social media about their trip. Per her family, this was not normal behavior for [Petito], and they became more worried about her."

Laundrie returned to the couple's North Port home without Petito on Sept. 1. He has refused to speak with investigators regarding the case.

Last Thursday, police said they were aware of Laundrie's location. However on Friday, officials said they did not know where he was.

Police in Mobile, Alabama said Monday they followed up on a tip that Laundrie was seen near a Walmart off Interstate 10. But investigators added that a body found near the Walmart was not that of Laundrie.

Steven Bertolino, the attorney for the Laundrie family, will hold a news conference on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in New York.