NewsState

Actions

Crews scour Florida preserve in search of Brian Laundrie

Gabby Petito's boyfriend still missing
Officials search for Brian Laundrie at the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County on Sept. 21, 2021
Posted at 9:06 AM, Sep 21, 2021

NORTH PORT, Fla. — Authorities are once again searching a swampy preserve area near the home of the boyfriend wanted for questioning in the death of Gabby Petito.

The 22-year-old's body was discovered at a Wyoming national park over the weekend, months after the pair set out on a cross-country road trip.

An autopsy of the body conducted Tuesday confirmed the remains found Sunday were Petito. The FBI also released a new poster seeking assistance from the public in their investigation.

Investigators returned to the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve to look for Brian Laundrie.

Crews on ATVs, trucks and swamp buggies are searching the terrain for any signs of the missing man while multiple drones are scouring the area.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office provided high-altitude drones that have more advanced technology that will allow investigators to see crisp images in real-time.

"The terrain is very difficult, essentially 75 percent of it is underwater, and other areas that are dry we're trying to clear," said North Port police commander Joe Fussell.

Fussell said they plan on checking "the entire area" for Laundrie.

Investigators also searched the 24,000-acre Florida nature preserve over the weekend.

The reserve became the primary site for the search when Laundrie's parents said they hadn't seen him since last Tuesday -- a week ago.

Apparently, they believed he came to the area to hike.

Law enforcement said Laundrie's silver Mustang was at the reserve, but his parents, for an unknown reason, went to the reserve to bring the car back to their house later in the week, according to investigators.

authorities gather before search for Brian Laundrie at T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve
Authorities gather before resuming their search for Gabby Petito's boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, at the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve, Sept. 21, 2021.

The FBI and North Port police first searched the reserve Saturday.

They paused search efforts Monday while the FBI served a search warrant at the Laundrie home Monday. The FBI removed several boxes and towed away a car from Laundrie's parents' home during the search.

The attorney for Brian Laundrie said he will not have any statements, updates or news conferences Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office looked into a report that a man resembling Laundrie was spotted on a trail camera in northwest Florida.

However, officials later posted on their Facebook page that "no one - and nothing - of note was located."

Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted that the state is beefing up resources in an effort to track down Laundrie.

DeSantis said he has directed all state agencies under his purview to continue to assist federal and local law enforcement in the search.