Brian Laundrie’s Florida home was raided Monday morning and FBI agents declared it an active “crime scene” before transporting his parents from the premises. Some people following the case are grateful authorities finally got a search warrant, but many Twitter users are outraged that the search for Gabby Petito was not more proactive from the start. Critics are demanding “justice for Gabby.”
According to reports, FBI agents in bulletproof vests streamed into the Laundrie family’s home on Wabasso Avenue in North Port just before 10:00 a.m. The agents were reportedly shouting that they had a “search warrant,” and commanded reporters to “get behind the tape,” because “this is now an active crime scene.”
Brian Laundrie’s parents were escorted from the home and taken to an undisclosed location in a black police van. As of Monday afternoon, it’s unclear what evidence police found inside the home, though the warrant reportedly allows them to search the entire premises, including electronic devices.
The FBI agents are continuing to search the home. Police have since dropped off cardboard boxes. At around 12:30 p.m., North Port police were seen “dropping off snacks, cooler for FBI agents who have been searching Laundrie home for hours,” according to a Fox News tweet.
All of this took place just after police halted the search for Brian Laundrie, who has been missing since last week, authorities said. The search for the 23-year-old person of interest was centered around North Port, Florida.
The North Port, Florida, Police Department claimed that the search for Laundrie has been exhausted and reportedly called officers back from the vast Carlton Reserve where they thought he was. A two-day search of the nearly 25,000-acre swampland ended with no additional information into Laundrie’s whereabout. Halting the search has further contributed to anger among people following Petito’s story.
“At this time, we currently believe we have exhausted all avenues in searching of the grounds there,” Josh Taylor, a spokesman for the North Port Police Department said in a statement. It was said that dogs could not pick up Brian Laundrie’s scent at the reserve, which police confirmed was infested with alligators.
According to the New York Post, the FBI confirmed that the raid on Laundrie’s home was connected to Gabby Petito’s disappearance. It was reported that Petito’s body was discovered Sunday in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.
“The FBI is executing a court-authorized search warrant today at the Laundrie residence in North Port, FL relevant to the Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito investigation,” the FBI’s Tampa office confirmed. “No further details can be provided since this is an active and ongoing investigation.”
While officials have not confirmed that the remains found are those of Gabby Petito, authorities said the remains were “consistent” with the description of the 22-year-old woman. As of now, no cause of death has been identified. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
After the body was found, those following the case took to Twitter to express their outrage. #JusticeforGabby was trending over the weekend and into Monday morning. Hundreds of tweets poured in.
“Law enforcement essentially gave Brian Laundrie a running head start into hiding so how about y’all make yourselves useful and FIND him and while you’re at it arrest his parents on accessory charges too, #justiceforgabby,” verified Twitter user Angela Babicz wrote.
A user replied, responding: “Exactly, they let him go when he should [have] been watched since he got back the cops are to blame if they don’t find him & his parents should [have] already been locked up cause Ik for a fact they know he hurt her. They protected & deserve jail time for it.”
Another user explained that “I didn’t know Gabby. Most of us didn’t know Gabby. But we all know a Gabby, a woman who is in an abusive and manipulative relationship and needs help. We have to be better for the Gabby’s in our lives. We have to do better. She deserved so. much. better. #JusticeForGabby”
This isn’t the first time that the authorities have received backlash for the way they handled the investigation. Pat Diaz, a former Miami-Dade homicide detective, posed an important question during his statement Sunday. “Why would you [try to] get consent from the guy, and not get a search warrant?” He said. “You can get a search warrant for everything in that house, including his laptop.”
Josh Taylor from the North Port Police Department responded, explaining that his department “has no authority to execute a possible federal search warrant on our own. I don’t see how anyone without all the facts in this case can come up with a reasonable conclusion and opinion on the matter.”
“There is no information that a crime took place here in North Port. That is our jurisdiction,” Taylor continued. Though many were not satisfied with that defense.