- Petito and Laundry were traveling cross-country in a 2012 Ford Transit van, which they converted into a camper.
- Authorities have identified Laundry as an interested person in the case.
- Laundry’s Quest focuses on a forest and protected wetland near his family’s Florida home.
The search for the fiancee of murder victim Gabby Petito resumed Wednesday in a vast Florida wetland, a day after a coroner confirmed human remains had been found in a Wyoming national park 22-year-old belonged to Petito.
Police in North Port, Florida have been searching the Carlton Reserve for days after Brian Laundry’s family said he went missing while camping in a 25,000-acre wilderness area.
Police tweeted late Tuesday: “Search of Carlton and surrounding land completed for evening. Nothing noticeable.” “The current plan is to return with a similar operation on Wednesday. We join the FBI in seeking continued public assistance by sharing any information.”
Petito and Laundry went on a cross-country adventure in July that was scheduled to end in Oregon at the end of the following month. But Laundry returned to her Florida home alone on September 1, and Pettito’s parents, who live in Long Island, New York, reported her missing 10 days later.
A nationwide, FBI-led search turned up a campground near Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. The Teton County coroner confirmed the identity and initially determined Pettito’s death to be a homicide. The coroner, Dr. Brent Blue, did not disclose a specific cause of death pending final autopsy results.
“We extend our deepest condolences to Gabby’s family, friends and all those whose lives she touched,” the FBI’s Denver office said in a statement. FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Schneider said the bureau and other law enforcement agencies are dedicated to bringing Pettito’s killer or killers to justice.
The Petito family said it would issue a statement when Petito is “home.” The Laundry family, which had drawn the ire of officers for refusing to speak with detectives during the search, issued a brief statement through attorney Steven Bertolino: “May Gabby rest in peace.”
The authorities have avoided an avalanche of tips and even rumours, Called or racing on social media, as the laundry location. Police in Sarasota, 30 miles northwest of North Port, addressed some of them in a tweet on Wednesday.
“Overnight and till this morning, we have received multiple inquiries through social media, emails and calls,” the tweet said. “Despite rumours, #BrianLaundrie is not in the custody of our agency at this time. We continue to work w/ @NorthPortPolice.”
In Okalosa County, 500 miles northwest of North Point, the sheriff’s department said they conducted an “extensive search” — including the use of drones — after grainy video of a trail near Baker, Florida, was taken by a hiker. Shown what looked similar to the laundry.
The sheriff’s office said on Facebook, “None – and nothing else – the note was found.” “At this time there are no known possible past or present links between Laundry and anyone in this area. In the meantime we will remain vigilant and share if anything new of importance develops.”
Petito’s social media accounts showcase a romantic adventure in the early days of the journey. But the trouble seemed to be increasing. In Utah, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office issued a 911 call from Monday Aug. 12 in which the caller says he left the couple’s van and “the gentleman was slapping the girl.”
A disturbing bodycam video of Petito during a subsequent police stop has gone viral, though officers took no action other than separating the couple for the night.
Melissa Hulse, a resource conservation supervisor at Arches National Park near Moab, heard calls for a possible home attack and was among those who answered the call.
“It’s hard to think of right now because I feel like I could have said more to help him,” Hulse said recently. Deseret News. “It’s hard not to guess myself, and I wish I had said more, or I wish I had found the right words to convince him that he deserved more.”