Police still looking for Petito in reserve

On Saturday, Florida police searched a large wildlife reserve near the Gulf Coast in search of Brian Laundrie (23 years old), a suspect in the disappearance Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito.

Police still looking for Petito in reserve

Nearly 50 North Port officers, FBI agents, and other law enforcement personnel searched the 24,000-acre (9.712-hectares) Carlton Reserve in Sarasota, Florida. The reserve has over 100 miles (161 km) of trails and camping grounds. Authorities used all-terrain vehicles, drones, scent-sniffing dog, and scent-sniffing dogs to search it. To provide a scent to the search dogs, investigators took some clothing from his parents' house Friday night.

"His family believes he entered the area earlier in the week," North Port Police tweeted Saturday.

Investigators believed that Laundrie might be in the wildlife reserve. Josh Taylor, spokesperson for the police, stated that Laundrie could live out his life in the reserve depending on his skills.

Taylor stated, "Certainly, we plan for all possible outcomes, but you know that our goal is to find him and bring him home to North Port."

Laundrie's family had earlier stated to officers that they hadn't seen him since Tuesday. The police said that Friday's conversation was their first in-depth discussion with the Laundries about the case and that they met at their request. Police said that an attorney representing the family called FBI investigators to discuss Laundrie's disappearance.

Taylor stated that investigators were trying verify the family story of Laundrie, who claimed that he entered the reserve with only a backpack. The mystery surrounding how Laundrie reached the reserve is still unsolved. Investigators were told by family members that Laundrie took his car. However, the vehicle was returned to his home and not at the reserve.

"We are going to follow their lead. Taylor stated that they believe the vehicle traveled from here to their home. "We are looking into corroboration of all information we have received."

The North Port Police stated earlier that they understand the frustration of the community over the slow progress made in finding the missing woman.

The statement stated that "We are also frustrated." "For six days, North Port Police Department (FBI) have been asking the family to contact investigators about Brian's fiancée, Gabby Petito. Friday marked the first time that they spoke to investigators in depth.

Petito, 22-year-old Laundrie, left July to embark on a cross country trek in a van that was converted for use in visiting national parks in the U.S. West. According to police, Laundrie was driving the van home to North Port, Florida on Sept. 1 alone. Petito's family filed an missing persons report with the police in Suffolk County, New York on Sept. 11.

Laundrie was identified as a person in interest in the case.

In a Friday statement, North Port police stated that Brian was a person of concern in Gabby's disappearance. However, he is not wanted to be convicted. The police stated that the case is now a "multiple missing persons" investigation.

Steven Bertolino (an attorney for Brian Laundrie) did not respond to a request from The Associated Press for comment on Friday night.

The Petito family's attorneys released a statement stating that Laundrie wasn't "missing."

"All of Gabby’s family want the whole world to know that Brian has not disappeared, he is hiding." The statement by Richard B. Stafford, the law office of Richard B. Stafford stated that Gabby was missing.

Petito's family had earlier in the week pleaded with the Laundrie family for information about their son. Petito and Laundrie met as childhood sweethearts while growing up in Long Island, New York. His parents moved to North Port, approximately 35 miles (55 km) south of Sarasota.

The couple began their trek in the Fort Transit van in July from Long Island. According to their social media accounts Petito claimed that they intended to reach Oregon by Halloween. However, she vanished in late August after last contact with her family at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

The Moab Police Department released video of the officer pulling the van over after the vehicle was speeding up and hitting a curb close to Arches National Park. The bodycam video shows Petito sitting in a police cruiser as officers questioned Laundrie.

Laundrie claims that the couple had a minor fight on video. He said that Petito was the aggressor and he didn’t want to pursue domestic violence charges against him.

Moab police ultimately decided not to file any charges against the couple and instead separated them for the night. Laundrie checked into a motel while Petito stayed with the converted sleeper van.

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