Wed. May 18th, 2022

Laundrie, whose fiancé Gabby Petito was found dead in Wyoming nearly three weeks ago, has been the focus of an intensive search of the Carlton Reserve near his family home in North Port after his parents told police he planned to hike there.

North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor told CNN’s Randi Kaye that although nothing related to Laundrie has been found inside the reserve, their efforts will continue there until they have better information.

North Port police confirmed this week that an abandoned vehicle message was placed on a Ford Mustang belonging to the Laundrie family on September 14 outside a park that serves as the entrance to the reserve.

The parents, Chris and Roberta, went to the park that day looking for their son and saw the quote, according to Laundrie family lawyer Steve Bertolino, a day after they said Laundrie told them he was on his way to the reserve. His parents brought the vehicle home on September 15th.

The search has been prompted solely by information from Laundrie’s parents, Taylor told CNN, and although the police department has received several tips from the public, police say no one has planned it so far.

Laundrie has not been charged with Petito’s death, but he is the subject of a federal arrest warrant for unauthorized use of another person’s debit card in the days after she last spoke to her family.

Police say Laundrie was under surveillance before he disappeared

Petito, whose body was discovered on September 19, was reported missing eight days earlier by her family, who had not heard from her since late August.

When police as part of the investigation into Petito’s disappearance went to the Laundrie family on the night of Sept. 11, he was not seen and there was no opportunity to speak to him, Taylor told CNN.

Although Laundrie was not wanted for arrest at the time, he was monitored by police – as the best authorities could do legally – before he disappeared, Taylor told CNN, and authorities say they never spoke to Laundrie until he disappeared.
The tragic messages sent by the Gabby Petito case

On September 17, when police spoke to Laundrie’s parents after they reported him missing, they refused to address Petitos’ disappearance or answer any questions about her that police described as “odd,” Taylor said. Laundrie’s parents, who had their lawyer on the speakerphone, would only talk about their missing son.

Laundrie and Petito had ventured on a summer vacation to western national parks, yet Petito was last seen in late August in a Wyoming restaurant, and Laundrie returned to Florida alone on September 1st.

Nearly a week after Laundrie returned, he and his parents went camping for a short stay at a location about 75 miles from their home, attorney Bertolino told CNN.

In late September, Laundrie’s parents released a statement through their lawyer, saying, “Chris and Roberta Laundrie do not know where Brian is. They are worried about Brian and hope the FBI can find him. Speculation from the public and some in the press that the parents helped Brian leave the family or avoid arresting a warrant issued after Brian had already been missing for several days is just wrong. “

Dad participated in the search this week

Chris Laundrie was seen Thursday morning entering the Carlton Reserve after being asked by police to accompany them on their search, according to Bertolino.

“Chris was asked to point out any favorite trails or places that Brian may have used in the nature reserve,” the lawyer said. Although the family provided the information they knew in the past, “it is now believed that on-site assistance may be better,” he said.

“Preservation has also been closed to the public and the laundries, but the parents have been cooperating since the search began,” Bertolino said.

“There were no discoveries, but the effort was useful to everyone,” he said.

Gabby Petito's father says he wants Brian Laundrie found alive

Police denied on Thursday that a campsite had been found in the reserve during previous search efforts. This confirmation came after a source close to the Laundrie family told CNN that they were informed by investigators that police had found a discovery. The source insisted Thursday that the Laundrie family had been told a campsite had been found.

“Is it possible that they thought there might be a campsite out there or something they might have seen from the air, but when they got on the ground, that was not what it turned out to be. Yes, I think It’s a possibility, “Taylor, a spokesman for North Port Police, said. “The bottom line is that investigators are telling me no campsite was found out there.”

While the search continues, Laundrie’s parents believe he is still in the reserve, Bertolino said, and as a result, any public call they called for him to surrender to authorities would not reach him.

“In short, the parents believe Brian was and still is in custody, so there was no reason to make a plea to media to which he has no access,” the lawyer said.

CNN’s Randi Kaye, Leyla Santiago, Sara Weisfeldt, Melissa Alonso, Gregory Lemos, Chris Cuomo, Jon Passantino, Dakin Andone, Christina Maxouris, Taylor Romine, Joe Sutton, Susan Chun and Anne Clifford contributed to this report.

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