A source close to the family told CNN that they had been informed by investigators that police had found the remains of a campsite that recently appeared to be being used in the Florida Carlton Reserve, a large 10,000-acre wilderness near Hr. Laundries family home that has been closed to visitors.
Josh Taylor, a spokesman for North Port Police, however, said investigators had not found a campground in the reserve. The FBI has not responded to requests for comment.
Sir. Laundrie’s father, Chris Laundrie, visited the reservation for several hours Thursday (US time) to help law enforcement apply, family lawyer Steven Bertolino told CNN.
“Chris was asked to point out any favorite trails or places that Brian may have used in the nature reserve. Although Chris and Roberta Laundrie verbally provided this information three weeks ago, it is now believed that on-site assistance may be better,” he said.
In addition, the North Port Police Department confirmed that a notice was placed on an abandoned vehicle belonging to the Laundrie family near the nature reserve on 14 September.
Laundrie’s family told police on September 17 that they had not seen him for several days and said he told the family he was on his way to the reserve.
The ongoing search comes as investigators try to gather what happened to Mrs. Petito, 22, and Mr. Laundrie, 23, on their ride in a white Ford Transit van through the American West this northern summer.
Sir. Laundrie and the van – but not Mrs. Petito – returned to their family home in North Port, Florida on September 1st. Petito’s parents, who were unable to get in touch with either her or Mr Laundrie, reported her missing 10 days later.
When police searched for Mrs Petito, Mr Laundrie refused to speak to investigators and then disappeared himself. The national focus on her whereabouts also revealed conflicts in their relationship, particularly during a home dispute in August and police interaction that went against their ambitious, sun-drenched social media posts.
Her remains were recovered Sept. 19 in Wyoming, near where the couple was last seen together, and a death sentence ruled she died of homicide, the FBI said.
Sir. Laundrie has not been charged with his death, although he is the subject of a federal arrest warrant for unauthorized use of another person’s debit card in the days after Petito last spoke to his family.
Abandoned vehicle was picked up near the reserve
The abandoned vehicle message was placed on a Ford Mustang belonging to the Laundrie family outside Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on September 14, North Port police said Wednesday. The park serves as an entrance to the Carlton Reserve, not far from the family home in North Port.
Sir. Bertolino, the family lawyer, told CNN that after further communication with the FBI, “we now believe that the day Brian left to hike in the sanctuary was Monday, September 13th.” His parents had previously told authorities he had left on September 14th.
Chris Laundrie went to look for his son on the night of Sept. 13 when he did not return from the park, Bertolino said Wednesday.
The next day, Brian’s parents returned to the area to look for Brian and saw the quote on the car, Bertolino said. The parents returned the next day, September 15, to pick up the vehicle.
“The laundries based the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events. After further communication with the FBI and confirmation that the Mustang was at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday, September 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the sanctuary was Monday the September 13, “Bertolino said.
Bertolino told CNN that Chris Laundrie was asked to help North Port police search for him on Wednesday, but police had to postpone the search.
“Since the reservation has been closed to the public, Chris has not been able to look for Brian in the only place Chris and Roberta think Brian can be,” Bertolino said.
“Unfortunately, the North Port police had to postpone Chris’ involvement, but Chris and Roberta hope there will be another opportunity to help.”
CNN asked Mr. Bertolino if Brian’s parents think he’s in the reservation or another area. “No, they do not believe he is in another area. They believe he is at peace,” Bertolino said.
Regarding the campsite found and the family’s involvement in the search, the North Port Police Department told CNN that the FBI is the leading agency in the case and that the North Port police would not make these decisions or take these actions.
“The FBI should respond if that were true,” North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said.
CNN has contacted the FBI for comment.
‘I want to see him in a prison cell for the rest of his life’
Mrs Petito’s body was found about a five-to-ten-minute walk from where her van was last seen near the entrance to the Grand Tetons, on the border of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, according to her mother Nichole Schmidt and stepfather Jim Schmidt during the second installment. of an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil show that aired Wednesday.
Mrs Petito’s body was in clearing and was right in front of the remains of a fire ring, Jim Schmidt said. “You could see where the rocks had been moved to make the fire ring,” he said. “It is certainly not an area that was heavily trafficked,” he added.
Jim Schmidt left a memorial and sunflowers on the spot, CNN has previously reported.
Schmidts was joined by Gabby’s father, Joe Petito, and his wife Tara Petito, along with their attorney Richard Stafford for the interview with host Phil McGraw.
Joe Petito said he wants Laundrie found alive so he can spend his life behind bars
. “I want to see him in a prison cell for the rest of his life, where – he’s an outdoorsman – he’s in that concrete cell and he can not see the trees and hugs – and smell the fresh air like that,” Petito said.
A timeline for the missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito’s case
“I want to look him in the eye,” Mrs. Schmidt said.