The search for Brian Laundrie continues without a trace, as the FBI have turned their attention to investigating Brian Laundrie’s phone. Obtained shortly after returning his parents house, Laundrie’s lack of a GPS or cell signal is believed to be one of the reasons why they have been unsuccessful at tracking his phone.
According to Florida’s local Fox 8 news, federal agents were recently seen at an AT&T store near Laundrie’s family home. The FBI is reportedly looking into a possible burner of Brian Laundrie’s phone purchased by the family the day he went missing.
Scrambling for clues, unconfirmed tips have even come in that Brian is not in Florida in all, but actually in North Carolina’s Appalachian Trail.
Going into hiding after returning home from a cross-country van trip with his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie has now been missing for over two weeks. He was first reported missing on Sep. 17, and has since become a “Person of Interest.”
The FBI believe that he may have had something to do with Gabby Petito’s death, after her remains were found in a Wyoming national park. A week ago, authorities officially ruled her death a homicide.
First reported by TMZ, the AT&T location told the news outlet that they were not able to discuss the matter without the authorities present.
Steven Bertolino, the Laundrie family lawyer, confirmed that the family purchased Brian Laundrie’s phone that day, but that they believe it is the same phone that the FBI already has. TMZ reported that law enforcement has yet to comment on this claim. It remains possible that Brian Laundrie’s phone is the same.
Now missing for over two weeks, the case has gripped a national audience, with many primetime news outlets running reports every night asking, “where is Brian Laundrie?” With little to no new details uncovered to his whereabouts each day, some people are beginning to think that the FBI have severely botched their investigation.
“We’re working as hard to find him now as we did on Day 1,” North Port Police Department Commander Joe Fussell told critics. This comment was six days ago.
“We’re not wasting our time out here,” Commander Fussell explained to the local Fox 13 news outlet. “We are doing our due diligence to find Brian in an area that our intelligence has led us [believe] that he could possibly be in.”
“We have investigative means; we have other technology,” Fussell alleged, arguing that the police have not fumbled through the investigation. “Agencies are issuing search warrants for data, whether it be social media or some other investigative means, and then we do this search.”
Despite their efforts, authorities have not been able to find anything from his phone, or his social media accounts.
“It’s upon us to make sure that we search this area as best as we can, as massive as it is, with the resources that we have to try and find Brian,” Fussell said.
However, new reports on Friday suggested that Brian may not even be in the Florida swampland that FBI have been searching. According to sheriff’s offices all throughout North Carolina, the state has received over a dozen tips that Brian Laundrie is hiding out in the North Carolina Appalachian Trail.
New York Post reported that it’s an area of great familiarity to Laundrie, as he once lived there outside “by himself for months.”
Watauga County, N.C. later sent deputies out to the reported location, but their findings came back empty handed.
“We have been monitoring social media for alleged sightings or information of Brian Laundrie being in this area,” said Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman. “But nothing has been verified.”
“If there’s something legitimate, we’ll check it out. And if there’s something more to it, then the FBI will be contacted — but not on every call,” he said. “We actually had a conversation with the FBI this morning.”