Gabby Petito remains missing as authorities search vast wildlife reserve for fiancé
The family of Brian Laundrie, Petito's 23-year-old fiancé, told officers Friday that they haven’t seen him since Tuesday.Police named Laundrie a person of interest in Petito's disappearance, but he has refused to speak with police. No charges have been filed, and the case continues to be a missing persons case, police said.
On Tuesday, authorities in Florida returned to an alligator- and snake-infested swamp to resume their arduous search for Brian Laundrie, whose fiancée, 22-year-old Gabby Petito, was believed to be found dead in a Wyoming park on Sunday.
"Please be aware, the Carlton Reserve is a vast and unforgiving location at times," North Port Police PIO Josh Taylor said in a release Tuesday morning announcing that authorities were returning to the sprawling reserve to search for Laundrie, 23, who is a person of interest in Petito's disappearance.
911 caller claimed he saw Brian Laundrie 'slapping' Gabby Petito: Live updates
Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie, cross-country journey, disappearance, missing, Wyoming, Florida, Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.The search for the 23-year-old Laundrie is centered around North Port, Florida, where investigators said Laundrie returned to his home on Sept. 1 without Petito but driving her 2012 Ford Transit.Laundrie has been named by police as a "person of interest" in Petito's disappearance. Laundrie has refused to speak to the police and has not been seen since Tuesday, Sept. 14, according to law enforcement officials.
The 25,000-acre preserve where Laundrie said he went hiking on Sept. 14 is waist-deep in water in many areas, Taylor said in the release. "This is dangerous work for the search crews as they are wading through gator and snake infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails."
On Sept. 1, Laundrie returned home to North Port from Wyoming, in the 2012 Ford Transit van that he and Petito had been driving in. Petito did not return with him.
RELATED: Gabby Petito's Father Honors Her After FBI Finds Body Believed to Be Hers: 'She Touched the World'
Petito and Laundrie, who met in high school in Long Island, N.Y., where her parents live, had been traveling around the country for the last few months, documenting their "van life" journey on social media.
Brian Laundrie: Search for Gabby Petito's fiancé resumes today in the Carlton Reserve. Here's why it's been so hard to find him
Authorities are no longer looking for Laundrie at the Carlton Reserve in Florida.Police in Florida resumed their search Tuesday for Brian Laundrie, the fiancé of Gabby Petito, who has been missing for almost a week.
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The vlogger's parents reported her missing on Sept. 11, telling authorities they were worried because they hadn't heard from her in two weeks.
As Petito's parents begged Laundrie for any information about their daughter's whereabouts, Laundrie kept quiet, refusing to speak to police, say authorities.
RELATED: 'If You Have Any Decency Left': Gabby Petito's Family Pleads with Fiancé's Parents to Help Find Her
By land. By air. pic.twitter.com/4LFcmwcD2b
— North Port Police (@NorthPortPolice) September 21, 2021
Besides the North Port Police Department, the agencies searching for Laundrie include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Florida Wildlife Commission, local sheriff's offices and police K9 search and rescue teams.
‘Didn’t Seem Right’: Witness Was Deeply Alarmed by Van-Life Couple’s Fight
A person who saw doomed “van-life” couple Gabby Petito and fiancé Brian Laundrie fighting in Moab, Utah, told cops that “something definitely didn’t seem right,” according to a witness statement released by authorities. Petito and Laundrie two set off in July to travel the U.S., visiting the country’s national parks and wilderness areas while living out of a converted 2012 Ford Transit Connect van. But although their online postings portrayed a blissful existence on the road, the couple’s relationship was in fact starting to fray by mid-August, a police report obtained by The Daily Beast revealed. On Sept.
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Laundrie's lawyer has not responded to PEOPLE's requests for comment.
On Tuesday, Taylor wrote in the release, "Alright, we're gonna get after this again."
He wrote that officials were searching the reserve once more, "This time, moving in from the Venice side of the area, along with adjoining lands."
"A weekend ground search and aerial search Monday of the 25-thousand-acre preserve has yet to yield any answers, but we must press on," he added.
This morning’s briefing in the Carlton. pic.twitter.com/GodNENyt2b
— North Port Police (@NorthPortPolice) September 21, 2021
He noted, "This is an FBI-led criminal investigation and North Port Police are assisting our federal partner in any way we can to bring this investigation to a close."
On Tuesday afternoon, Taylor sent out another release to the media, saying, "Nothing has been found as of 1pm ET. There is no presser planned at this time."
Arrest Warrant for Brian Laundrie Issued in Wyoming Following Gabby Petito's Death
Brian Laundrie, considered a person of interest in Gabby Petito's disappearance, has not been seen since he was reported missing last FridayLaundrie, who has been considered a person of interest in the disappearance of his fiancée, Gabby Petito, was indicted by a federal grand jury for "use of unauthorized access devices" following Petito's death.
A Bright Light Dimmed Forever
On Sept. 15, PEOPLE spoke with Petito's father, Joseph Petito, who said his daughter was "amazing."
"She's so artistic. She's an amazing artist. She loves to draw," he said. "She has a great eye with decorating ... She's that flower child type of personality. The old soul, you know?"