Police are looking for Brian Laundrie in reserve; Gabby Petito still not found – .

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Gabby Petito’s boyfriend has been missing since Tuesday: the family – .


NORTH PORT, FLA. – Florida police searched a large wildlife preserve near the Gulf Coast on Saturday looking for Brian Laundrie, 23, a person of interest in the disappearance of his girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito.

Dozens of North Port police officers, FBI agents and members of other law enforcement agencies searched the 24,000-acre (9,712-hectare) Carlton Reservation in the Sarasota area , in Florida. The reserve has more than 160 kilometers of trails as well as campgrounds.

“His family say they believe he entered the area earlier this week,” North Port police tweeted on Saturday.

Investigators were hoping Laundrie was somewhere in the wildlife preserve. Depending on his skills, he could survive on the reserve for a period of time, police spokesman Josh Taylor said at a noon press conference.

“Sure, we’re preparing for all the different possibilities, but you know our goal is to locate it and bring it back to North Port,” Taylor said.

Laundrie’s family told officers earlier that they had not seen him since Tuesday. Police said Friday night’s conversation was the first time they had discussed the matter in detail with the laundries and the meeting was held at the request of the family. A family lawyer called FBI investigators and said they wanted to talk about Laundrie’s disappearance, police said.

“We understand the frustration in the community, we are also frustrated,” North Port Police said in a statement. “For six days, the North Port Police Department and the FBI begged the family to contact investigators regarding Brian’s fiancée, Gabby Petito. Friday is the first time they have spoken to investigators in detail. “

Laundrie and Petito, 22, left in July for a hike across the country in a converted van to visit national parks in the western United States. Police said Laundrie was alone when he drove the van back to his parents’ home in North Port, Fla. On September 1. Petito’s family filed a September 11 missing persons report with police in Suffolk County, New York.

Laundrie has been identified as a person of interest in the case.

“It is important to note that while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby’s disappearance, he is not wanted for a felony,” North Port Police said in a statement Friday. He added that the investigation is now a case of “several missing persons”.

Brian Laundrie’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, did not immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment on Friday night.

Lawyers for the Petito family released a statement saying Laundrie was not “missing”.

“Gabby’s whole family wants the world to know Brian hasn’t gone missing, he’s in hiding.” Gabby is missing, ”the statement from law firm Richard B. Stafford said.

Earlier in the week, Petito’s family begged the Laundrie family to tell them where their son last saw her. Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met growing up in Long Island, New York. His parents then moved to North Port, about 55 kilometers south of Sarasota.

Police video released by the Moab Utah Police Department showed an officer stopped the van on August 12 after he was seen speeding up and hitting a sidewalk near the entrance to the Arches National Park. Body camera video showed an emotional Petito, who sat inside a police car while officers also questioned Laundrie.

Laundrie says on the video the couple engaged in a minor brawl that began when he got into the van with dirty feet, and said they did not want to pursue a domestic violence charge against Petito, whose officers decided he was the aggressor.

In the end, Moab Police decided not to lay any charges and instead separated the couple for the night, with Laundrie checking in at a motel and Petito staying with the converted van bed.

The official conversation with the family on Friday came shortly after North Port Chief Todd Garrison publicly expressed frustration over Brian Laundrie’s lack of help on Wednesday, begging Laundrie’s lawyer to set up a conversation . “Two people went on a trip and one person came back! An earlier tweet from the police chief said.

Their trek in the Fort Transit van began in July from Long Island. They intended to reach Oregon by Halloween according to their social media accounts, but Petito disappeared after his last known contact with his family in late August from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, announced. authorities.

In other developments, a Utah sheriff said Friday that detectives determined there was no connection between Petito’s disappearance during the trip and the still unsolved murder of two women who were killed. shot at a campsite near Moab, Utah. The bodies of the two women, Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Turner, 38, were found six days after the traffic stop involving Laundrie and Petito.

Greater Utah County Sheriff Steven White said without explanation in a press release that the two cases were unrelated.

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