Manhunt! Did Van-Life Boyfriend Disappear Into the Wild?
Photo illustration from The Daily Beast
Florida police said Saturday they were searching a wilderness reserve for Brian Laundrie, the person interested in the disappearance of his girlfriend, Van-Life YouTuber Gabby Petito.
In a tweet, North Port police said Laundrie's family told investigators that they believe he broke into the 25,000-acre Carlton reservation earlier this week - although it wasn't clear why.
After days of silence, police finally spoke to Laundrie's family on Friday night and learned he was missing as Petito's disappearance came under increasing scrutiny.
The FBI, meanwhile, was conducting a search of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, which may have been the last place Petito visited before he disappeared.
The office said a number of law enforcement agencies were conducting "soil surveys" in areas "relevant to the investigation" but did not elaborate.
“This is an active and ongoing investigation, so we ask the public to keep their distance from law enforcement personnel, equipment, vehicles and their related activities in order to keep the public safe in these remote areas and to protect the integrity of our work. "Said the FBI.
The 22-year-old Long Islander was not returning from an overland van ride that she and Laundrie documented on YouTube and other social media.
Her family reported her missing on September 11th and in recent days has been increasing the pressure on Laundrie and his family to answer questions.
On Friday, after speaking with Laundrie's family, North Port police said they had sensed community frustration at the lack of progress on the case - which has now led to FBI involvement.
"We're frustrated too," said the department. “The North Port Police and the FBI have been asking the family to contact investigators about Brian's fiancé Gabby Petito for six days.
“On Friday they spoke to the investigators in detail for the first time. It is important to note that while Brian is a person interested in Gabby's disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime. We are not currently working on a crime investigation. We are now working on an investigation into several missing persons. "
Petito's family made a damning statement through their attorney Richard Stafford: “All of Gabby's family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he's hiding. Gabby is missing. "
Over the weekend, police announced that they finally had a chance to track Petito and Laundrie's phones and find out where the phones are now and where they were before.
Investigators have already pieced together some of the couple's moves since they started the trip in June.
There is a bodycam video of an encounter with police in Moab, Utah, on August 12, after the couple got into a physical altercation following an argument. No charges were made at the time.
Twelve days later, Petito announced to her family that she was leaving Utah for Grand Teton, Wyoming. Then on August 30th, they received a mysterious text message from their phone that read, "No service in Yosemite." You suspect she didn't really send that.
Laundrie returned to his family's home in North Port on September 1 - but Petito's family said they could not get any information from him about their whereabouts.
Last week they posted a request to the Laundrie family.
"Please, if you or your family have any decency, please tell us where Gabby is," they said in a letter read by their lawyer. “Tell us if we are looking at the right place at all. We just want Gabby to come home. Please help us to achieve this. "
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