The search for Brian Laundrie resumed Wednesday at the Carlton Reserve after investigators failed to turn up any evidence regarding Laundrie’s whereabout. The efforts were called off on Monday after a weekend-long search of the 25,000-acre preserve. Police resumed efforts Tuesday but failed to find the missing “person of interest” in the Gabby Petito case.
The North Port Police Department issued a statement Tuesday morning, writing that the department, “along with our law enforcement partners, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Florida Wildlife Commission, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota Police Department, Venice Police Department, K9 search and rescue teams, and other government partners continue working to establish the whereabouts of 23-year-old Brian Laundrie.”
The authorities announced Tuesday that they would be resuming a ground search for Gabby Petito’s boyfriend. The focus is still primarily on the Carlton Reserve, “where Brian reportedly visited a week ago today to go hiking.” The police confirmed that “this time,” the efforts will be “moving in from the Venice side of the area, along with adjoining lands.”
Investigators already searched the land over the weekend but found no concrete evidence of Brian Laundrie’s whereabouts. Authorities did continue the efforts Monday with an aerial search, however, they called back all officers from the dangerous, alligator-infested terrain.
The North Port Police Department said in its statement for people to “be aware” that “the Carlton Reserve is a vast and unforgiving location at times. It is currently waste deep in water in many areas. 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 Wednesday morning, North Port Police confirmed on Twitter that “agencies” are “back out in the [Carlton Reserve] Wednesday morning” and the “search continues.” Attached to the Twitter post were pictures of officers and agents, including K-9 specialists. The pictures showed dozens of investigators gathered to continue the search for Brian Laundrie. As of Wednesday afternoon, however, the efforts have not revealed any new information.
Police began focusing on the Carlton Reserve after Laundrie’s family told authorities that they believed he left for the area last Tuesday. There are more than 80 miles of hiking trails that Laundrie could have trekked upon and investigators don’t have any more leads. Search efforts have ramped up especially after remains were found In Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. Autopsy results confirmed that they belonged to Gabby Petito.
“The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results,” according to the FBI, though authorities have ruled her death a homicide. Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider asked “anyone with information concerning Mr. Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current whereabouts” to “contact the FBI.”
After receiving confirmation Tuesday, Petito’s family said through their attorney that they need time to grieve before communicating with the public. “We will be making a statement when Gabby is home,” the family’s attorney, Richard Benson Stafford, explained.
On Instagram, Gabby Petito’s uncle, Steve Petito, spoke out against the law firm representing the Laundrie family. “We don’t require nor want your empathy,” he said in the post. “By you trying to show compassion here at this moment is beyond disgusting.”
Steve Petito was responding to the Laundrie family’s lawyer, Steven Bertoloni, after he said to Fox News Tuesday, “May Gabby Rest in Peace.” The uncle was disgusted at the statement, claiming that while the “law firm may be immune due to attorney/client privilege,” they are “guilty and complicit with this massive cover-up and stalling tactic” in the eyes of the public.
It appears that Steve Petito’s brother, Joe Petito, also has ill feelings regarding the Laundrie family. The animosity did not begin after his daughter went missing, however. According to an interview with Dr. Phil, Gabby Petito’s dad always disliked Brian Laundrie.
“I’ve never liked any of Gabby’s boyfriends, let’s be real. I’ve never actually called one of her boyfriends by their real name, ever. I always made up names for them,” he explained over video chat with the reality TV star.
“I always tried to use the female version of the boyfriend’s names, just to intimidate them a little bit,” he continued. Petito says Laundrie “laughed” when he first heard the name: “Brianne.”
Joe Petito also admitted that he couldn’t stand to watch the bodycam footage of his daughter and her longtime boyfriend. He said he hated to see her cry.
That video has since brought the public’s attention to the possibility of an abusive and manipulative relationship. Many have used social media to spread their theories regarding what happened to Gabby Petito, claiming Brian Laundrie was gaslighting his girlfriend. Nothing has been proven as of yet and evidence remains difficult to gather as the “person of interest” remains on the run.