Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered state agencies to join in the manhunt for Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s fiancé
who is now considered a “person of interest” in her death, telling media that “we need justice” for the deceased travel blogger.
Laundrie was reportedly last seen Tuesday, September 14th, days before he was declared a person of interest by authorities local to his parents’ Florida home, where he and Gabby lived before taking off on a cross-country trip which Petito documented on social media.
The FBI confirmed late Tuesday that Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park and that her death was a “homicide.”
Laundrie’s family has been mum on their son’s whereabouts but told law enforcement Friday that they believed Brian had visited the Carlton nature preserve — a 24,000-acre, “vast and unforgiving” wetland — and an individual believed to be Laundrie was captured on a private trail camera near the preserve. North Point police said Tuesday that they were using dogs and all-terrain vehicles to try to locate Laundrie, but that the area was difficult to navigate.
“More than 50 searchers from at least eight law enforcement agencies led by the FBI are using huge swamp-busting amphibious vehicles, ATVs, bloodhounds, other K9s and drones as they ramp up efforts to track down the 23-year-old,” the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.
“At the request of [North Port Police], [Florida Fish & Wildlife] law enforcement has been assisting in the search for Brian Laundrie,” DeSantis tweeted late Tuesday, according to a local Miami news outlet.
“I have directed all state agencies under my purview to continue to assist federal & local law enforcement as they continue to search – we need justice for Gabby Petito,” he continued.
A North Point police spokesperson confirmed that the search is progressing slowly.
“Carlton Reserve is a vast and unforgiving location at times. It is currently waist-deep in water in many areas,” he said. “This is dangerous work for the search crews as they are wading through gator and snake-infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails.”
Petito had been missing since late August — most likely since around August 30th, when she was last in communication with her parents. Laundrie reportedly returned home to North Point, Florida, in early September — perhaps as early as September 1st — and Gabby’s family reported her as a “missing person” on September 11th.
A body believed to be Petito was found in Wyoming on Sunday after the FBI received thousands of tips from travelers who claimed to have spotted Petito’s camper van in Grand Teton national park. The FBI confirmed Tuesday, following testing and an autopsy, that Petito’s body had been found and that the cause of death was “homicide.”
They gave no further details but said they will release a full autopsy report.
The FBI also raided the Laundrie home last on Monday and reportedly seized evidence, including Brian Laundrie’s silver Ford Mustang, which the family says they found near the nature preserve.
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